MANILA, Philippines — The increases in the prices of Noche Buena items are “justified” and cannot be controlled, said an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday.
Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said the DTI strictly regulates only the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) which are subject to suggested retail prices (SRP), and can only monitor the prices of Noche Buena items.
“Justified naman talaga yung pag-increase nila ng presyo, hindi natin mapipigilan (the price increases are justifiable, we cannot stop them),” Castelo stated in an interview on Sakto.
She added that they do not impose penalties for expensive Noche Buena items.
“Yung BNPCs natin, strictly, nakasunod yan sa SRP. Ang Noche Buena products, hindi po natin nireregulate. Binabantayan lang natin to check price movement, pero hindi po tayo nag i-impose ng penalty sa kanya. We do not even issue notices of violation,” remarked Castelo.
(The BNPCs strictly comply with the SRP. The Noche Buena products, we do not regulate. We just monitor the price movements, but we do not impose penalties on those found increasing their prices. We do not even issue notices of violation).
BNCPs under the DTI include basic canned goods, bread, and instant noodles, according to the agency’s website.
The trade undersecretary explained that should the price increase of a Noche Buena item exceeds 10 percent (from prevailing prices in the last three months), that might be it considered profiteering.
However, she said, those that increased their prices by more than 10 percent have sent advisories to the DTI, with supporting data justifying the price adjustments.
Prices of manufactured items such as paper, tin can and other packaging materials, and meat for ham have increased in the international market, resulting in increases in local Noche Buena items, according to Castelo.