(Source: Business Mirror | 29 March 2017)
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said he intends to review the legislation that grants the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) the authority to set the suggested retail prices (SRPs) for prime commodities.
“We’ll let the market decide. Setting of the SRPs is a company decision; and supermarkets, more often than not, follow the SRPs and even price them below the suggested schedule of the manufacturers,” Lopez said.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) authority to issue the SRPs is found in its Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 1, Series of 1993, with the departments of Agriculture, Health and Environment and Natural Resources issued in 1993, which states: “The implementing agency may, whenever necessary, issue SRPs for certain basic necessities and/or prime commodities for the information and guidance of concerned trade, industry and consumer sectors.”
The JAO serves as the implementing rules and regulations of the Price Act. These agencies, including the Department of Energy, are empowered to issue SRPs after conducting a review on the manufacturer-set prices.
“I’m telling the Philippine Competition Commission, there should be no ‘approval’ process in the DTI when it comes to SRPs,” Lopez said.
He added that if they observe in an industry that they all increased at the same time it’s time to call their attention and the DTI will still have to review industries that are dominated by a few players.
Manufacturers of basic goods and prime commodities are enjoined to submit their price schedules to the DTI’s Consumer Protection Group for the monitoring of their price movements. These prices undergo a review process and the DTI issues approved SRP schedules, which serve as pricing guides for supermarkets and other retailers.