Consumer group: Give tax relief to mitigate price increases of goods

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 27) — The United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) recommended giving tax relief to consumers and business owners to tame the possible price increase of some goods, as the holiday season nears.

UFCC President Rodolfo Javellana Jr. said on Sunday that Congress and economic managers, as well as President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., may opt to suspend the 12% expanded value-added tax (e-VAT) and the excise tax from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to prevent further price increases to basic necessities and prime commodities.

"Sana naman, huwag 'yung lagi na lang pinapasa sa ating mga consumer. Baka kinakailangan magkaroon muna ng tax relief ang ating mga consumers, ang mga negosyante, habang ganito ang sitwasyon natin," he added.

[Translation: We hope the burden won't always be passed on to consumers. Maybe consumers and business owners could be given tax relief while this situation remains.]

Javellana also suggested the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) could scrap suggested retail prices and replace these with fixed prices to ensure that sellers won't take advantage of consumers.

Meanwhile, Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association President Steven Cua said coordinating with manufacturers could also help delay the price increase for some goods.

He suggested that the DTI talk to manufacturers and ask them not to increase prices until the end of the year or by January 2023. He added that the agency could release the list of those who accommodated the request and cooperated, and promote their products.

Cua added that consumers could be more creative and resourceful in their choice of products to boost their savings and get their money's worth.

"You have to be more flexible, more creative, maging maparaan, mapanuri, mapangilatis sa mga produktong binibili natin. People would have to take effort in doing that. Hindi pwedeng umasa lang sa gobyerno, 'di pwedeng umasa lang sa retailer, umasa sa manufacturer -- umasa tayo sa sarili natin," Cua said.

[Translate: You have to be more flexible, creative, resourceful, and critical of the products you buy. People would have to take an effort in doing that. We can't always rely on the government, the retailers, or manufacturers -- we have to rely on ourselves.]

Cua added that Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual wants to meet with the National Price Coordinating Council on Thursday to discuss how to make the possible price adjustments less burdensome for consumers.

In a radio interview on DZRH Saturday, Pascual said the DTI is studying the request for a price adjustment in some basic necessities and prime commodities based on their inventories.