A LABOR leader in Negros Occidental called on the government to convene the Local Price Coordinating Council claiming that the increase in the prices of fuel is already affecting the cost of commodities in the province.
Wennie Sancho, secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), said he doubts the recent pronouncement of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that there is no significant movement in the prices of prime and basic goods.
Sancho asked how come that there is no significant upward adjustment in the price of commodities since even the provincial buses and fastcrafts have already imposed fare increases.
“Price hike on petroleum products would surely result to increases in price of goods and services as this means additional transportation and production costs,” he added.
Earlier this week, DTI-Negros Occidental reported that prices of basic and prime commodities are still within the suggested retail prices (SRPs) despite the implementation of the tax reform law.
Lea Gonzales, provincial director of DTI-Negros Occidental, said that based on the computation, the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law still has minimal effects on basic and prime commodities.
The law signed by President Rodrigo Dutere last December 19 imposes excise tax on sweetened beverages, petroleum, automobile, tobacco, and coal.
Gonzales said manufacturers might still be disposing their old stocks and inventories, resulting to steady prices of these goods.
The Local Price Coordinating Council is chaired by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. with the DTI as one of the member-agencies.
Basic necessities under the DTI’s monitoring include products like soap, milk, coffee, salt, bread, and sardines.
Examples of prime commodities are noodles and all kinds of canned goods except sardines.
The DTI-Negros Occidental recognized that fuel price increases would directly impact manufacturers through additional hauling and manufacturing costs.
Aside from increase in excise tax, other factors that may also impact them indirectly include wage and fare increases.
There are no national wage and fare increases yet contributing also to “steady” prices of basic and prime goods, it added.
For the local labor group, these claims of the DTI do not reflect the reality.
“It does not speak for the real and current situation,” Sancho said, adding that the price council should come out with the factual status of the prices especially of the basic and prime commodities in the province.
“The increase in prices of fuel is already extraordinary, and extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” Sancho further said.