Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez recently (5 April) convened the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) to closely evaluate the price and supply situation of basic necessities and prime commodities during the first quarter of this year.

During the meeting, DTI discussed its stand to deregulate the setting of Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) on certain commodities to reduce bureaucratic red tape in the system, while it continues to closely monitor the movement of prices of products and ensure fair trade in the market.

DTI clarified that there will still be SRPs on manufactured products but it can be set by the companies themselves for guidance of the supermarkets and consumers. These SRPs will still be closely monitored by DTI.

“We can let the companies set the SRPs because products with competitive market players and several brands, both locally produced and imported, have their ‘self-correcting mechanism’ on their prices,” said Sec. Lopez.

“In fact, prices of brands and commodities that do not pass the approval system of DTI before remained stable and some are even declining because of competition” he added.

Sec. Lopez believes that liberalizing price setting would help spur competition among industries and would further improve their product quality.

“DTI would prioritize the protection of the consumers by ensuring that industries have a competitive business environment that allows entry of brands and players in the market and give the consumers the widest range of choice,” the trade chief said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the prices of basic goods, and will have the oversight function to enforce regulation of irregular price increases,” added Sec. Lopez, ensuring commitment to consumer protection.

The NPCC will work with DTI on analyzing the industry structure and streamlining the process of price regulation to create a more efficient and effective system for both manufacturers and consumers. DTI would also be working with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to continuously review the industries’ structure, and the play of competitive forces, that will ensure optimum competition and best options for quality products/services and affordable price points for consumers.