As hikes in prices of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) loom next year, the government - through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - is negotiating with manufacturers to make sure any increase would be minimal.

In an interview with radio dzBB yesterday, DTI Assistant Secretary Amanda Nograles said the DTI is reviewing manufacturers' requests for price increases and is pushing for the smallest adjustment possible.

BNPC manufacturers have been pushing since the start of the year for adjustments in the prices of their products, citing higher costs of production and raw materials, among others.

In October, the DTI met with BNPC manufacturers, during which a consensus was reached to hold off price increases until the end of the year.

Nograles said the DTI would do its best to ensure that the price increases next year would not be simultaneously implemented.

She assured the public that the DTI follows a thorough process in evaluating the price increase requests from manufacturers.

'There are a lot of meetings, a lot of negotiations. The only price increase that we allow is what is just right, not excessive,' she said in Filipino.

Apart from negotiating with the manufacturers, Nograles pointed out that the government continues to help manufacturers bring down their production costs, citing measures such as suspending collection of pass through fees by local government units.

In September Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual and other DTI officials met with 29 manufacturers and two associations of producers of canned sardines, coffee, processed milk, bread, salt, detergent, candles, condiments, bottled water, canned meat, toilet soap and batteries.

During the dialogue, manufacturers expressed their concerns about various issues, including the imposition of pass-through fees, lack of local supply of raw materials and compliance requirements from other government agencies and other regulatory concerns.

'We thank the manufacturers for their earnest cooperation in easing the burden of rising prices of goods to Filipino consumers. We assure them that the DTI will continue to work with them in finding ways to address the rising costs of their production so that they too can sustain their businesses, which in turn provides income to their workers,' Pascual said.

Under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, as amended, the DTI is mandated to issue suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin for BNPCs under its jurisdiction for the information and guidance of manufacturers, distributors and consumers.

The current SRP bulletin was issued in February.

Compared to the previous SRP bulletin issued in August 2022, the February SRP bulletin noted price increases in stock-keeping units of some food products such as canned sardines, canned meat, coffee, milk, bread and instant noodles.

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