A LOCAL business leader is urging the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the local government units (LGUs) to activate their respective price monitoring council and implement price control amid the high prices of commodities.

Frank Carbon, vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for the Visayas, made the appeal after oil companies imposed a new big-time price hike on fuel Tuesday, January 25.

This is already the fourth straight week of oil price hikes with gasoline now being sold at an average of P1.45 for every liter, diesel at P1.90 and kerosene at P1.70.

Carbon, also the chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said the fuel price increases will surely have a domino effect on the processing of food, agricultural products and other commodities.

Transport of goods would also become expensive, the business leader said, adding that “we, in the business sector, are taking the risk of reopening business to create jobs and we don't want that some will take advantage by just jacking up the prices.”

Meanwhile, meat products have increased, as well with pork now sold at P280 per kilo, dressed chicken at P200 per kilo.

The cost of some grocery items and even prices of spices and fish have also increased.

By next month, the prices of bread are also expected to increase as a result of the hike in the cost of flour, its main ingredient, at P1,030 per sack compared to its price in December 2021 at P800 per sack.

Class A flour was even more expensive at P1,100 per sack, while sugar prices climbed by P50 per sack.

As to the resumption of trips of fast craft vessels in Western Visayas, Carbon, who is the operator of Weesam Express, said they will make an assessment of its outcome.

Fast crafts in the region resumed operation on Tuesday, January 25, after the City Government of Bacolod City, through an executive order issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, allowed fully vaccinated individuals to travel without negative reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result.

Iloilo City also followed the amendment on its travel protocol, although it requires negative RT-PCR test results for unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals prior to arrival in the city.

Bacolod City, on the other hand, only requires a negative result of rapid antigen test (RAT).

Carbon said that after three days, they will decide either to continue their operation or halt anew. It will still depend on the volume of passengers traveling, he added.