Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual takes direct action to combat risk of rising prices due to El Niño through a series of discussions with manufacturers on a possible price freeze.

During a recent “Kapihan” session with Secretary Pascual, representatives from leading manufacturers and retailers expressed openness to explore a voluntary price freeze on essential goods to ease the burden on Filipino families, despite the challenges posed by El Niño on their business operations.

DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, accompanied by key officials from the Consumer Protection Group—Assistant Secretary Atty. Amanda Nograles and OIC Director Atty. Cherryl Carbonell—convened with representatives from the manufacturing and retail sectors for their routine “kapihan” session.

Secretary Pascual praised the collaborative spirit of the industry: “At DTI, we are deeply committed to monitoring market conditions, advocating for consumer rights, and guiding our nation through these challenges. We are profoundly grateful for the industry’s partnership in protecting the welfare of our community.”

“What is good about this effort is that the voluntary price freeze will be felt by everyone, not only in areas under a state of calamity, but every Filipino consumer,” said Assistant Secretary Amanda Marie F. Nograles. 

The “Kapihan” also discussed the DTI’s ongoing projects, such as the Clark Mega Food Hub and the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) Online, which strengthen the link between farmers and retailers, further supporting the local economy and ensuring the availability of affordable food.

Secretary Pascual reiterated DTI’s dedication to balancing consumer protection with a thriving business ecosystem: “Naiintindihan namin ang hirap na dinaranas ng mga pamilyang Pilipino dahil sa El Niño. Nakatutok ang DTI sa pagtiyak na tama ang presyo ng mga bilihin, pagprotekta sa kapakanan ng mga konsyumer, at pagsiguro na ang mga retailer ay responsable sa maayos na pagpapatakbo ng kanilang negosyo.”

The “Kapihan” gathered industry key players such as Monde Nissin Corporation, Unilever Philippines, Inc., Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Universal Robina Corporation, Nestle Philippines Inc., Procter and Gamble Philippines, Inc., Century Pacific Food Inc., Alaska Milk Corporation, CDO Foodsphere, Nutri Asia, SM Supermarket, and Robinsons Supermarket.

Under the Price Act, enforced by DTI, prices of basic necessities in areas declared under a state of calamity are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for up to 60 days, reflecting DTI’s deep commitment to protecting the Filipino consumers during critical times. ♦

Date of release: 09 May 2024