CITY OF SAN FERNANDO The prices of some traditional Noche Buena goods which increased recently ahead of the holidays cannot be controlled and regulated as these are "justified" according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In an interview on Tuesday, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said the agency can only monitor the prices of Noche Buena items, unlike basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) which are subject to suggested retail prices (SRP) which it can regulate.

The DTI lists canned goods, bread, and instant noodles as BNCPs which strictly comply with the SRP.

"We do not regulate expensive Noche Buena products but just monitor their price movements. We also do not impose penalties on those found increasing their prices and do not even issue notices of violation because the price increases are justifiable and we cannot stop them," she said.

Castelo added that firms which increased their prices by more than 10 percent have sent advisories to the DTI, with supporting data justifying the price adjustments.

She clarified further that should the price increase of a Noche Buena item exceed 10 percent from prevailing prices in the last three months, it might be considered profiteering.

"Prices of meat for ham, packaging materials, manufactured items such as paper and tin can have increased in the international market that led to increases in local Noche Buena goods," Castelo said.