DTI to ask manufacturers to freeze prices of Noche Buena items

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — The Department of Trade and Industry is hoping that manufacturers will heed its call to put off price adjustments for Noche Buena products amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Hindi pa sigurado kung may mag-i-increase... Susubukan na pakiusapan ulit sila," Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said during a virtual briefing on Thursday.

[Not yet sure if there will be an increase... We will try to ask them again.]

Castelo said last year the manufacturers agreed not to raise prices of Noche Buena items.

The DTI official also assured that the agency would intensify its price monitoring of basic goods.

Earlier this month, the DTI issued a list of suggested retail prices for basic commodities, including food products, bottled water, dairy products, and common household or kitchen supplies. The agency halted the implementation of price hikes following the decision of the national government to place several areas under enhanced community quarantine.

READ: DTI postpones price hikes on basic goods

Castelo explained it is necessary to implement price adjustments as manufacturers need to be profitable to avoid layoffs.

"We understand na nasa pandemya tayo, pero ayaw naman natin mag-fold ang mga negosyo," she said.

[Translation: We understand that we are dealing with the pandemic, but we do not want businesses to fold.]