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DTI convenes NPCC to address issues on the price and supply of BNPCS

Philippines , 24 January 2024

MAKATI CITY —As chair of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual convened on 24 January 2024 to lay down efforts in ensuring the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) at reasonable prices and enhancing safeguards against unjustified price increases.  

The United Broilers Raisers Association, Inc. (UBRA) and the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. (PCFMI) raised the issue on the movement of pork and other raw materials within agricultural zones due to the requirement of local government unit (LGU) permits and restrictions related to the occurrence of the African Swine Flu (ASF). 

To resolve this concern, the Department of Justice (DOJ), through Undersecretary Geronimo L. Sy, volunteered to take the lead in the establishment of a Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agriculture (DA), DTI, and DOJ as it has the enforcement capability to correct the policies and procedures being implemented by the LGUs, in accordance with existing laws. Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual said the DTI will also coordinate with the DILG regarding the implementation of the Executive Order (EO) No. 41 suspending the collection of pass-through fees by LGUs and shall report non-compliance. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) informed the council about the geopolitical factors such as elevated war risk premiums and escalating Middle East tension that present potential supply disruptions. The DOE also discussed that the setting of contract prices for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is on a monthly basis only. With this, the council requested DOE to reflect monitored nationwide prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on their website, for the information of consumers. 

Some industrial users approached the DTI on facing the challenge of a low supply of sugar. However, it is not the issue at the moment according to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA). The DTI requested SRA to assess consumer goods that might affect sugar. 

Additionally, the DTI presented updates on the newly issued Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of BNPCs and the factors for its determination. The prices of NB products are being adjusted due to the increase in the prices of both local and imported raw materials, the high cost of packaging materials, and freight costs, among others. 

In the meeting, the council also proposed the DA to look at the possibility of conducting weekend monitoring activities and its digitalization in collaboration with DTI and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) which would allow consumers to benchmark across different markets where the lowest prices are available.  

Moreover, they agreed to look into the integration of price monitoring data of the member agencies of the council for price stabilization. With accurate, real-time data, the agencies and consumers will be equipped to make smarter and more informed decisions.  

“The DTI’s prime mandate is to protect the consumers and ensure fair trade practices. We are proactively looking for the best possible ways to stabilize the supply of basic goods at reasonable prices,” said Secretary Pascual. 

“We are currently assessing restrictive market regulations that may affect the intent of producers to enter the Philippine market and the effectiveness of benchmarking prices of goods with other neighboring ASEAN countries, among others,” the trade and industry chief added. 

The council also proposed the removal of the booklet requirement for the availment of the senior citizens discount during the purchase of basic goods. In addition, NPCC Chair Pascual highlighted the need to closely coordinate with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to clarify provisions on the tax deductibility of the grant of senior citizen discounts. 

The NPCC meeting was attended by the DTI, DA, DOH, DOJ, DILG, SRA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Transportation (DOTr), National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), UBRA, PCFMI, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, Inc. (PAGASA), Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI), and Citizen Watch. 

For consumer-related concerns and queries, you may send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph or reach us thru the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline. ♦