Bakers’ turn: P4 hike on bread prices sought
There seems to be no end to the increasing prices of basic commodities to the detriment of ordinary consumers—first it was rice, followed by fuel, and lately sugar. In the next few weeks, the price of the ordinary tasty bread and “pandesal” may have to go up as well.
The country’s biggest bakers said they would submit this week or the next a request for a P4 increase in the price of bread to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to help them recover the higher costs of ingredients. Pinoy Tasty and Pinoy Pandesal sell today for P38.50 per 450-gram pack and P23.50 for a pack of 10 pieces, respectively.
The last time bread prices were adjusted was in February this year when Pinoy Tasty and Pinoy Pandesal increased in price by P3 after local bread manufacturers grappled with the rising cost of flour, which had increased by nearly 45 percent. Starting Feb. 8, the retail price of Pinoy Tasty rose to P38.50, while Pinoy Pandesal increased to P23.50.
“We are affected. That’s the reason we have to file for an increase,” Philippine Baking Industry Group (PhilBaking) president Johnlu Koa told the Inquirer when asked about the effects of high sugar prices on the bread industry.
Koa said they had submitted a similar request about two months ago, before the assumption of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The PhilBaking official said the petitioned increase was due mainly to the rising cost of flour and sugar at that time.
However, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, who heads the DTI’s Consumer Protection Group, said in a phone interview that the same P4 price increase request has previously been withdrawn by the group after coming to terms with the government, but she did not elaborate.
Castelo said any new request would have to wait until the next publication of their suggested retail price bulletin as they have just issued the latest one days ago.
The DTI official said the date of the next issuance would depend on the volume of the request that they would get.
Still, Koa said they were not pressuring the government to immediately grant the P4 price increase, saying they could “wait within a reasonable amount of time.”
“Since we are supportive of government initiative and efforts to combat inflation, a week’s wait is alright with us,” he added.
Other industry groups have recently complained about the high cost of sugar, which now retails for P90 to P100 in the market, apart from the scarcity of supply as pointed out by some companies.
Last Tuesday, the country’s three leading brands of carbonated drinks said they were experiencing a shortage of premium refined sugar, a major ingredient in their products.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has also come forward to say that many of its members were experiencing the same shortage in supply, warning of price increases for beverage and processed food products and factory slowdowns if the problem persisted.
PCCI president George Barcelon told the Inquirer in a phone interview that there was an “urgent need” for the government to address the issue as many of their members were already affected by the shortage.
“Somebody told me that if there is no solution at the end, there may be certain factories that may have to slow down,” he said, adding that it might be too late if the government’s only plan was to import additional sugar by October.
However, the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship said the government’s timing and decision to import a limited amount of sugar supply was correct, saying the measure would protect both consumers and sugar farmers.
“The importation plan that the President has directed is correct and can help us achieve a more inclusive economy. It will allow our small farmers to make a living,” Joey Concepcion, the founder of the nonprofit group’s advocacy campaign Go Negosyo, said in a statement.
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