Supermarkets: Lift use of SRP bulletin until year-end 

THE use of the suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should be lifted until year-end, according to a supermarket industry group.

Steven T. Cua, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association president, told BusinessWorld Live on One News Channel aired Monday that the group has been suggesting that the SRP is not needed unless there is a calamity or a state of national emergency.

“Maybe this is as good a time for the DTI to lift the use of the SRP until the end of the year and see what happens. If retailers, distributors, or manufacturers abuse this, I think it is the fall of these sectors and the retailers because people will not buy their products,” Mr. Cua said.

“We have always been suggesting that there is no need for SRP unless there’s a calamity or a state of national emergency. That is what the SRP is supposed to be for because it is a price-regulating mechanism. Let the manufacturers find the right place for their products, to be able to position their products and brands well,” he added.

On Aug. 12, the DTI issued a new SRP bulletin that reflected price increases for 67 out of 218 stock-keeping units (SKUs) under its jurisdiction on the back of higher production costs. The price increases vary from 3.29% to 10%.

Some of the basic necessities and prime commodities that were priced higher include canned sardines, coffee, noodles, bottled water, processed milk, detergent soap, candle, and condiments.

“Amid these adjustments, the DTI remains steadfast in its commitment [to] ensuring that consumers have access to reasonably priced goods in the market, hence increases were kept to a minimum,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said in a previous statement.

Based on Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, the DTI monitors the prices and supply of products such as canned fish and other marine products, processed milk, coffee, bread, salt, laundry soap, detergent, candles, flour, processed and canned pork, processed and canned beef, and poultry meat, noodles, vinegar, patis, soy sauce, toilet paper, soap, and school supplies.

“The main function of the SRP Bulletin is to inform and guide retailers and consumers, protect them from deceitful or unconscionable transactions, and give consumers the freedom to choose the product they prefer at a price they can afford,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a previous statement.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cua said that the group had been advised by a leading salt manufacturer of a price increase.

“We’ve been advised by one manufacturer at least — a leading local brand — which said that prices will go up by 33%. So far, we have not ordered yet. Our supermarkets have not really seen the price increases,” he said.

“Salt sales are not that strong in supermarkets. The sales are stronger in wet markets. But at the supermarket, sometimes people forget to buy salt,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave