DTI seeks full compliance on suggested retail prices to fight inflation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2018 09:48 AM | Updated as of Sep 11 2018 10:09 AM

A vegetable vendor tends to his stall at a Quezon City market on Sept. 6, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The Department of Trade and Industry said Tuesday it was ensuring 100-percent compliance with suggested retail prices on basic goods, as it bucked calls for a price cap to tame quickening inflation.

Retailers caught violating the SRP risk having their stocks confiscated, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said. The DTI monitors prices of 207 items in 600 stores, the scope of which was recently expanded, he said.

"The good story here is, everybody is observing the SRP," Lopez told ANC's Headstart. There have been no violators so far of the "two strike policy," he said.

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Asked about proposals for a price cap, Lopez said: "We appreciate all these suggestions. We considered it. We studied it talaga. However, when we were looking at the situation, ang naging mas worry natin, if we put a price cap, lalong magkakaroon ng shoratage."

(However, when we were looking at the situation, our worry was, if we put a price cap, there could be a shortage.)

"Baka mawalan ng stock sa palengke. Ang situation natin ngayon has to be addressed by supply," he said.

(Stocks in the market could get affected. Our situation right now has to be addressed by supply.)

Inflation hurtled to 6.4 percent in August, exceeding government and market forecasts as the monsoon season pushed up food prices.

High oil prices in the world market is the real driver of inflation these past months, Lopez said. The higher cost of tin plates also led to an increase in the price of canned goods, he said.

"I'm just putting it in perspective. The movement of inflation is highly correlated with the world oil price," he said.

Relatively fair weather these past weeks will help bring down rice prices, he said. Prices of palay or rough rice has gone down to P29.50 per kilo from a peak of P32.

The National Food Authority also has 4.6 million bags of rice in stock, he said. Another 2 million and 5 million bags from abroad are also set to arrive, he said.