DTI: Rise in school supply prices possible as higher global oil costs spill over

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 15) ⁠—The increase in global fuel prices can make an impact on students and their parents via the cost of school supplies as they brace for the full return of in-person classes.

In a government briefing on Friday, the Department of Trade and Industry acknowledged that prices of school supplies could go up as higher fuel costs affect other sectors, too.

Hindi po natin maiwasan kung nagtaas na ng presyo talaga ang mga bookstores or ‘yung mga nagbebenta ng school supplies. Hindi po natin maiwasan ‘yan because global naman ‘yang fuel price increase, so ‘yung logistics po nila maaaring tumaas din ng probably bahagya lang,” DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo explained.

[Translation: We cannot avoid the rise in prices of school supplies in bookstores and by those selling them. We cannot avoid that since the fuel price increase is global and their logistical costs may have probably gone up slightly.]

Without enumerating specific supplies, Castelo said there are still “a lot” of items with unchanged price tags due to competition within their sectors.

Itong mga nakaraang huli, meron kaming listahan ng school supplies na presyo pero hindi po naman kasi mandatory…hindi po siya basic at prime [commodities] kaya hindi po natin sila nire-regulate,” said the DTI official.

[Translation: Recently, we have a price list for school supplies but this isn’t mandatory. School supplies aren’t basic nor prime commodities hence why we don’t regulate them.]

Still, Castelo assured they will “see in the coming days” whether they will release a price bulletin for back-to-school products.

Earlier today, a lawmaker warned of the higher school supply price tags, along with the costs of school uniforms and shoes as schools gear up for in-person learning.

Tuwing tumataas po kasi ang demand para sa isang produkto, maaaring tumaas din ang presyo nito. At kung ngayon pa lang ay nakikita na ng DTI at mga LGUs (local government units) na magmamahal ang presyo ng school supplies at uniforms, dapat na nilang agapan ito upang hindi mahirapan ang mga magulang at estudyante,” Quezon City 2nd District Representative Ralph Tulfo said.

[Translation: When demand for a product goes up, its price can go up, too. And if the DTI and LGUs already see an increase in prices of school supplies and uniforms, they should immediately address this to lessen the burden on parents and students.]

The Department of Education, under the leadership of Vice President Sara Duterte, has required schools to fully implement five days of physical classes by November. 

A new school year is set to begin this August.