LKI Press Statement 2021-026

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LKI Press Statement 2020-026

July 19, 2021


Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) and its President Atty. Vic Dimagiba warned against the continuous oil and gas price increase, as Dimagiba said “immediately this has a big impact on transportation cost, the upcoming big oil price hike will definitely influence and affect the increases in transportation and other products and services as there will be a chain reaction.”

Dimagiba also talked about “the warning of higher supermarket prices because of claims by a supermarket group   that their businesses have been suffering, saying and based on the supermarket official, 7 to 9 manufacturers already told him about price increase . To  be consistent with the logic of their group about losing money , if they want their members to get back to its levels, they can exercise their market power and reject the price increases. The supermarket groups talk about financial losses but they have actually stayed online and operational, and thrived in a pandemic setting where people will always still rely on them for food during the global crisis. Thus, it is not fair for the supermarkets to effect a price increase on their products just like that, because first of all, they can reject the notice of price increases. This must also be heavily regulated since we are still recovering, and consumers must be protected from high prices in the market.”

Dimagiba said “On the other hand as well, consumers have the power though to choose from many different brands so that they can choose the cheapest and most reasonably priced items. I am advocating this because consumers have been sending me already ideas, and instances where there are big brands doing promos even in this time of pandemic, showing as proof that food is not suffering business in this crisis. To create demand for consumers, a large company is  doing promos, 140 pesos a kilo for a whole chicken labeled Big Bid,  which is a low  price .  The bigger companies are not struggling and still doing promos. If you want to create demand with consumers, as more people are returning to work. The different brands of bread, noodles, toothpaste are already warning that prices are going to increase. Reject the notice of price increase, and exercise your power and right to choose from the different products. Supermarkets can choose to reject the price increases, as this has been done by a group of supermarket owners from before. And if you look at the price of tin cans, the prices in the market have actually gone down in the past two years, so the prices of canned goods should not be pushed upward.”

LKI continued “This is a DTI and regulatory process that is involved but retailers can choose to reject. I have always been suggesting a pork holiday, and some retailers even voiced out intention not to sell pork because the prices will be too high. The components of the product must be examined and inspected very well, and you should look at the prices. Over the past two years, in the pandemic, looking at materials and inventory of finished goods, looking at canned goods, shelf life is 6 to eight months, so we are not going to lose supply of sardines due to long shelf life. Also, for noodles, the shelf life is very long, and the bread shelf life may be short, but wheat, prices have been very stable so the review of cost of raw materials and packaging must be strict. Labor has not moved, and even electricity, distribution charge has not been going up. What has been increasing is the prices in spot market or WESM prices. There are factors that can compensate, increases, thus the review of the inventory is crucial. The logic being used is that in the past year that there were financial losses, but that just means they were not able to produce or sell. The supermarkets, in able to survive, the production of food did not stop even throughout the pandemic. The supermarket and food industry did not suffer during the pandemic because while everybody was at home, the food business thrived and grew. Thus, you should not increase the prices of your food products, because these businesses were not suffering as food remained strong throughout the entire pandemic.”

DImagiba concluded that “to sum it all up, there should no longer be warnings of price increases just because the last increase was in 2019, these large corporations should focus on continuing to increase demand and supply, and being able to serve and offer their products to consumers, especially when it comes to food and beverages, for the betterment of the community during this ongoing pandemic.”

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