MAKATI CITY—With the aim of stabilizing market prices of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) and establishing safeguards against unjustified price increases, Trade Secretary Fred Pascual, Chairperson of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC), convened the Council on 01 December 2022.
Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Act, was formulated to protect consumers by stabilizing the prices of BNPCs, as well as prescribing safeguards against unjustified price increases in emergency situations and similar circumstances. The NPCC was established by the Price Act, and headed by the DTI Secretary.
Secretary Pascual emphasized that external factors drive the increasing prices of goods.
“The current global developments such as the ongoing war in Eastern Europe, renewed COVID-19 lockdowns in China, and the Federal Reserve’s rate hike heavily affected prices of goods across the globe and escalated inflation. We have convened the Council to gather updates on the country’s price and supply situations so we can also implement initiatives to possibly temper price hikes”, Pascual said.
The NPCC was established as a mechanism to coordinate the Government’s productivity, distribution, and stabilization programs, projects, and measures in the face of rising commodity prices. The Trade Chief reminded that a whole-of-society approach is needed to manage the current domestic market situation. He supports the implementation of the National Information Network (NIN), which will provide critical information on the price and volume of food production, a unified registry of farmers and fisherfolks, geo tagging of production areas, among others. The information provided will serve as basis for strategic planning including industry response or production decisions and budget allocation.
In the meeting, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) reported that the prevailing prices of retail sugar in groceries and supermarkets in the National Capital Region (NCR) as of November 2022 are PHP86.00/kilo for raw sugar, PHP87.00/kilo for washed sugar, and PHP106.00/kilo for refined sugar. Meanwhile, sugar prices in wet and public markets in NCR are lower by PHP1.00 – PHP6.00.
On other agricultural goods, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the prevailing retail prices for a kilo of local commercial rice are PHP50.00 (special), PHP45.00 (premium), PHP40.00 (well-milled), and PHP38.00 (regular milled). Since August 2022, the prevailing retail price of pork has remained at PHP370.00/kilo, and prices of bangus, tilapia, and local galunggong have remained stable. The DA also shared that Kadiwa ng Pasko offers sugar at PHP70.00 per kilo.
Meanwhile, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the volume of production for Bali Sardinella, commonly known as Tamban, is at 80.23 thousand metric tons for the third quarter of 2022, noting a 17.18% decrease from the previous year.
The DTI presented the updates on the Noche Buena (NB) Price Guide and factors for the determination of the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of BNPCs. The prices of NB products are adjusted due to the increase in the prices of both local and imported raw materials, the high cost of packaging materials, freight cost, and the depreciation of the Philippine Peso against the US Dollar.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) informed the body that one (1) or two (2) tropical cyclones are possible this month, and La Niña is expected to last until March of 2023.
At adjournment, Secretary Pascual said “Our cooperation and collaboration is critical in addressing the economic challenges that we face. We cannot do it alone. We need the help of different government agencies such as PSA, DA, SRA, NFA, DOH, DOE, NWPC, and BSP, and their respective expertise in the process of making informed decisions that will advocate consumer protection and ensure food security”. He also called on local governments to activate their respective Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCC). The Council is expected to manage regular monitoring of prices to recommend steps to correct unwarranted price increases and supply shortages.