ONLY limited numbers of manufacturers are seeking permission to raise prices of basic goods, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said, with adjustments to the suggested retail price (SRP) list under consideration.

Trade Assistant Secretary Ann Claire C. Cabochan said in a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday that the department is weighing the impact on the broader economy before acting.  

“Pinag-aaralan natin, kasi kapag nagbibigay tayo ng SRP bulletin na may price adjustment, alam naman natin ’yung magiging epekto din niyan kasi tataas pa ’yung presyo (It’s being studied, because if we allow an SRP adjustment, we all know that the impact would be higher prices)” Ms. Cabochan said.

“Hindi naman lahat ay humihingi din ng increase as of this time, may ilan-ilan po. Titignan natin kung justified ’yung increase (Not all are asking to increase prices — it’s only a limited number. We will see if the reason for their requests is justified) and if it is, then that is the time (the) DTI will make adjustments,” she added.  

The SRP list was last updated by the DTI on Jan. 27, with 73 out of 216 stock keeping units authorized to raise prices due to the higher production costs.

The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association has estimated that the prices of basic necessities have increased by 3% to 6% while non-essential items have seen their prices increase between 8% and 15% in reaction to rising fuel prices.  

Ms. Cabochan said that the DTI sees no reason to order a price freeze with commodity prices rising due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She said Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act authorizes a price freeze after the declaration of a state of emergency.

“As of this time and sinabi na ito ni (Trade) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, na hindi pa natin nakikita ’yung (Secretary Lopez has said that he does not as yet see) circumstances that will give rise to a declaration of state of emergency,” Ms. Cabochan said.  

“Under a price freeze, the affected products are only basic necessities listed in the Price Act. The price freeze does not include prime commodities,” Ms. Cabochan added.

According to the DTI website, basic necessities include rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh milk, fresh eggs, and fresh fruit. These products will be covered by any price freeze.

Prime commodities include flour, onion, garlic, processed and canned pork, processed and canned beef and poultry meat, and fertilizer.

Since the beginning of 2022, the prices of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene have increased by P20.35 per liter, P30.65 per liter, and P24.90 per liter, respectively. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave