Baguio Group Decries Price Hike on Basic Commodities

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY –“Many go hungry among the poor,” Gerry Cacho of the Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU) said regarding the report of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that the price increases in the region are minimal and justifiable.

Cacho stressed that the poor are the ones adversely affected by every price increase in basic commodities. The wages of the workers are insufficient to buy food and avail of government services, she added.

“The food of the poor is the first affected and then their health especially the children,” she explained.

According to Cacho, the number of malnourished children in the country continues to increase. “Many of the youth cannot reach high school and college because of poverty,” she said.

Cacho also said urban poor families have difficulty buying food because of the unjustifiable high prices. “Most urban poor families do not eat three times a day, some only twice, some once and there are those who do not eat,” she explained.

She added that poor families could not afford noche buena products since they could not even buy the basic kitchen and home needs. She said that the urban poor are no longer working for the next day’s food but rather for the meal of that day.

Cacho believes government should give the right subsidy and not just providing “band aid” solutions through dole out programs for the people. She explained that there should be a national industrial system that supports agriculture, a system to concretely address price hikes on basic commodities.

Meanwhile, Atty Samuel Gallardo who heads the Consumer Welfare and Trade Regulation Division (CWTRD) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Cordillera said that they have only computed a minimal increase of prices in their latest monitoring. He also said hat the supply of prime commodities especially this holiday season is adequate and will not be a problem.

“We do not anticipate sudden problems in the supply and in the prices,” Gallardo said. According to him the manufacturers promised not to increase prices especially this holiday season. As of November 26, CWTRD computed a three percent to five-percent increase in prices of basic commodities which according Gallardo is minimal.

“The increase in prices were justifiable and some maintained the prices,” he explained. However, he said this could affect the prices of the small stores that purchase products from the supermarkets.

Gallardo said they do a for weekly price monitor to ensure the welfare of the consumers. As of now, he said that under the Price Act there are no cases yet of profiteering in their six provincial offices in the region.

Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act provides consumers protection by stabilizing the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities by prescribing measures against undue price increases during emergency situations and like occasions.

Gallardo added that this season they are going to include noche buena products in their monitoring. He advised the consumers to avoid last minute shopping.

Moreover, Leonida Tundagui of the Kilusang Mayo Uno stressed that the three to five percent price increase on basic commodities is already a burden to most families given the meager wages of workers.

She explained that any price increase would adversely affect the poor because prices of commodities continuously increase but workers’ wages do not move an inch. She added that the P12.00 cost of living allowance that the government promised will still be implemented in January 2011 yet prices continue to rise.

As a Christmas gift to the urban poor, Aquino should fulfill his promise to solve poverty in the country, Cacho and Tundagui said. (

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