Gov’t asks consumers to buy from supermarkets instead of sari-sari stores

While most local consumers are starting to feel the burden of higher tag prices of almost all commodities, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is asking the public to patronize groceries and supermarkets, at least for now.

During a media briefing on Wednesday (June 20), DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez assured that prices of commodities remain stable. However, the department admits that it is still impossible to monitor and regulate prices of goods sold on sari-sari stores and wet market stalls across Metro Manila.

That is because DTI is yet to impose suggested retail price (SRP) on merchandise sold in such retailers. Thus, Lopez recommends buying goods in supermarkets and groceries especially for budget-conscious consumers.

Makakasiguro kayo ‘yung presyo ng SRP dun sinusunod (You can be sure SRPs are observed in groceries),” Lopez said. “In fact, some goods are even sold in prices that are even lower than SRPs.” He emphasized the strategic effect of competition among supermarkets and small retailers—lower demand will force sari-sari stores and wet markets to also adjust their prices to entice consumers.

Inflation rate jumped to 4.6% in May 2018, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). That exceeds the target for the entire 2018, which is set at just around 2% to 4%. Analysts cite three possible (and debatable) factors for this—the effect of the government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) program, the effects of a weaker peso against the dollar (P53.48 to $1 as of June 21), and hikes in world oil prices.

Rising inflation was also the main reason the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) imposed an interest rate hike in May to 3.25%, then this month to 3.5%. Higher interest rates usually discourage borrowing of money—consumers will generally control spendings resulting to lower demand on products, which in turn will make prices drop (based on law of supply and demand). However, that may also prompt some businesses to lower their production, possibly leading to layoffs.