Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said his department has released data gathered from their monitoring of Noche Buena items to help consumers in buying these products as Christmas approaches.
"Prices of raw materials have gone up and we need to recognize that. But we try to mitigate the amount of increases. I think that is what our role is. Make sure the requested increases are reasonable,” Pascual said Tuesday.
Pascual explained that the list does not contain suggested retail prices, but rather information on the prices of Noche Buena products available in the market.
"There are not suggested retail prices. We just documented the going prices for the Noche Buena goods so consumers will be guided. You present the lowest price available, so they know they can find suppliers or stores with that kind of pricing,” he said.
Pascual said imported goods or goods which have travelled significant distances are the ones with higher prices.
Pascual however says he has appealed to manufacturers to be kind.
"I met with the food manufacturers a few weeks back. I explained to them how I look at pricing. If a manufacturer produces a range of products that cater to various income classes of society, they can distribute the contributions to overhead and profit across, not uniformly, percentage terms, so that the burden on the goods that are for the low income families will bear a smaller part and the goods, premium brands for the same product line, could carry heavier share of the burden for overhead and profit," he said.
Pascual added, households should have enough buying power to take care of their Noche Buena needs.
"Alam mo naman, during this period, may mga extra pay. May 14th month pay, merong bonuses. Kakayanin, tingin ko," he said.
Speaking at the Pilipinas Conference 2022 to encourage more investment in the Philippines, Pascual shared with the media that investors have been about the Philippines’ participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Pascual said it has been more than a year now since the task of ratifying RCEP has been with Filipino lawmakers.
"I am at the firing line for that. Every time I talk to a prospective investor in the country, and if their idea is to set up a plant here for purposes of exporting to countries that are members of RCEP, they always ask when we will ratify, if at all, the RCEP,” he shared.
Pascual said the current government is still pushing for it, and he is hopeful Senators will finally get it done.
"The Senate has yet to commence the process. But the important thing is I think, well I hope the Senate will have the time to do it now given that the budget, the work on the budget has already been ramped up.”
RCEP entered into force on January 1, 2022.
Signatories of the agreement include Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, as well as ASEAN.
Those signatories account for nearly a third of the global population, and around 30 percent of Global Gross Domestic Product.
Despite being a signatory, the Philippines has yet to ratify its participation in the trade bloc.