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Consumer Group Pushing Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) for Branded Bread and Cement

Laban Konsyumer Inc. and its President Atty. Victorio
Mario A. Dimagiba  wrote to Atty. Ruth B.
Castelo, Undersecretary of Consumer Protection Group of Department of Trade and
Industry  and copied Director Domingo
Tolentino of the Consumer Protection Advocacy Bureau , regarding the imposition
of Suggested Retail Prices, SRP, for
branded bread products and cement.

In a letter dated January 10 and sent by email to USEC
Castelo  and Director Tolentino, LKI
wrote that it respectfully submits for the DTI action “our proposals to include
branded bread products and cement Type 1P in the Expanded Suggested Retail
Prices of basic necessities and prime commodities.

said “on branded bread products, we recall that the DTI announced last year
that it was adding branded bread products in the Expanded SRP issued in October
2018. Historically, branded bread were included in the SRP until the DTI
launched the Pinoy Tasty and Pinoy Pandesal during the term of the Aquino

continued by stating “In consultation with the bread industry, as well as to
promote to the consumers the PInoy Tasty and pandesal, the branded bread were
deleted and in lieu Pinoy Tasty and pandesal were included in the SRP.  It was important to ensure that the prices of
PInoy Tasty
and Pandesal remain uniform in all supermarkets and
groceries nationwide.”

In the letter, it was
detailed that “Last month, the DTI announced that Gardenia   will reduce prices by 1 to 2 pesos. For
unexplained reasons , and partly we have informed you thru text, that
Gardenia’s  600 gram remained  at Php 64.00 and the 400 gram at Php 46.75
apiece. Those prices remain as such today.”

Dimagiba pointed out that
“We had monitored that the Gardenia prices for the pandesal in pack of ten
pieces was reduced by 1 peso.  Rolling
backwards, the same brand increased their prices by 1 and 2 pesos a piece in
September to October last year, unilaterally, and it was Laban Konsyumer Inc.
that brought the increases to the attention of DTI as well as the media ”.

He emphasized that “Bread
is a basic necessity under the Price Act, as amended. For the same reasons that
the DTI issued an Expanded SRP on basic necessities and prime commodities, it
would be urgent to add branded products in the list as well.  Laban Konsyumer Inc. is not aware if there
are pending enforcement steps taken by the DTI on the concerned parties, but
the unannounced increases and the noncompliance to a rollback are strong
reasons for DTI to act now.”

The letter then tackled the
topic of cement type 1P. LKI wrote that cement is a prime commodity under the
Price Act, as amended that used to be with 
SRP . LKI could not recall when and why cement  SRP was removed .

Using data
from the DTI E -Presyo, LKI  informed
that retail prices of cement had increased over the last three (3) months. LKI
summarized selected data and areas for brevity:

Area/Brand Prev price in Php/40 kg bag A week ago in Php/40 kg bag A month ago in Php/40 kg bag 3 months ago in Php/40 kg bag
Advance 230 230 230 215
Mayon          225 225 225 225
Quezon City
Republic 217 217 210
Rizal 215 215 215
Advance 220 220 220 220
Rizal 240 250 235 235
Advance 240 240 240 240
Holcim 225 225 225 225
Rizal 225 225 225 225
Advance 220 220 220 220
Rizal 230 230 230 230
Cebu City
Apo 203 198 198 198 198
Holcim 195 195 188 188
Mindanao 165 165 165 165
Republic 185 185 185 185
Grand Poz 178
Davao City
Apo 205 205 205 200
Holcim 220 220 220 220
Republic 212 212 205 212
Iloilo City
Apo 215 215 215 215
Holcim 215 215 215 215
Republic 200 200 200

Dimagiba explained “There
are no monitoring reports from Baguio City; Calamba, Laguna; Lipa, Batangas,
Cagayan de Oro and San Fernando, Pampanga.

In 4 hardware stores in Fairview, Quezon City,
Advance Eagle ranges from 215 to 220 while Republic is selling at 230 -235
pesos per 40kg bag.”

Based on the DTI E Presyo,
the brands of cement in the monitoring lists are Ha Long, Grand Premium, Red
Lion, Mayon, Northern Cement, Grand Pozzolan, Advance Eagle, Rizal, Republic,
Holcim Excel, Apo and Mindanao.

LKI proposed that the
brands listed in the DTI E –Presyo be maintained and set separate SRP for Luzon
including NCR, Visayas and Mindanao. 

LKI concluded by saying
“Industry sources show that pick- up prices from local plants and importers warehouses
range from Php 185 – Php 195 pesos per 40 kg bag and add Php 10.00 transport
per bag and maximum Php 20.00 per bag margin or profit for the supply chain, an
SRP of Php 210 to 215.00 per bag is reasonable at this time.”

Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) is a
nonprofit and non-stock registered entity with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. LKI is a consumer advocacy group in the Philippines that promotes
consumer education and protection against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable
business practices. The LKI focuses on education, prices and supply of basic
and prime commodities, standards and qualities among other areas of consumer

LKI is a new member of Consumers
International, a membership organization for consumer groups around the world.
Consumer International is composed of over 200 member organizations in more
than 100 countries to empower and champion the rights of consumers everywhere.
Dimagiba also acts as Chairman of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO) of the Philippines.