Imee asks DTI to hold price hikes for basic goods until after lockdowns

Imee asks DTI to hold price hikes for basic goods until after lockdowns

Sen. Imee Marcos


By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – Senator Imee Marcos has urged the Department of Trade and
Industry (DTI) to put on hold price increases granted manufacturers
of basic necessities and prime commodities in July.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that
the 3% to 5% price hikes estimated by the DTI would be no small matter
for daily wage earners who will be unable to earn their keep when a
two-week lockdown begins this Friday to control the spread of the
dreaded Delta variant.

“We need to help keep down costs for ordinary households because
social welfare subsidies or ‘Ayuda is not limitless and their
distribution will be staggered. Who knows the outcome of this new
lockdown and how long wage earners will have to stop earning a
living?” Marcos said.

“Sana agahan yung ayuda para makapamili na ang tao at maiwasan ang
panic buying na nangyayari ngayon, pati ang pagpila sa SAP (social
amelioration program) at tuluyang paglabag sa lockdown,” Marcos added.

(Let’s hope the ‘Ayuda is distributed at once so that people can
start stocking up and avoid the panic buying that is now happening as
well as having to queue for SAP only to end up violating the
lockdown.)

Price surveys conducted by Marcos’s office in sari-sari stores and
supermarkets in Metro Manila show that typical food products like
sardines and canned meats, instant noodles, coffee, and milk have
already gone up by 15 centavos to one peso.

“The price increases are premature since the DTI has not yet made
public its latest SRPs (suggested retail prices) for basic necessities
and prime commodities,” Marcos said.

Marcos warned manufacturers and store owners of taking advantage of
panic buyers, citing Republic Act 7581 that prohibits profiteering and
hoarding during emergency situations.

Manufacturers have appealed to the DTI to grant them an increase in
prices that have remained unchanged since 2019, due to the rising
costs of raw materials like oil and flour and packaging like tin and
plastic.

However, Marcos pointed out that businessmen are in a better position
to absorb income reductions than the ordinary wage-earner until
lockdowns are over.

“As we have learned from one and a half years of open-shut lockdowns,
these drastic measures are only enforceable and effective if
accompanied by: 1. adequate and early ‘Ayuda; 2. mass vaccination,
testing and treatment. Otherwise, even the toughest lockdowns go to
waste, ruining invaluable lives and valuable livelihood. (ai/mtvn)

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