MANILA - After a price freeze despite peak inflation during the months leading up to the Christmas season, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced price hikes on 56 basic commodities this February.
"Due to the three-month price hold-off that was implemented in the last quarter of 2018, no price increase was effected despite peak in inflation, oil price hike, peso devaluation, and increase in the prices of raw materials in the world market," DTI Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said in a statement.
The DTI attributed the price hikes to higher manufacturing costs, with more expensive raw materials, packaging, labor and fuel, among others.
The price increase on the average is 5 percent, except for salt, which went up by 12 percent.
Prices of several canned sardines (155g) increased by P0.40 to P1.30. Evaporated and condensed milk products are also pricier, ranging from P0.50 to P1.10 and P0.50 to P1.20, respectively, the DTI said.
Prices of vinegar, fish sauce, and soy sauce also increased due to "rising cost of raw materials (fish extract and soy bean meal), labor rate, and packaging materials (PET bottle and carton)," the DTI said.
"The SRPs of vinegar range from P6.40 (200ml) to P14.70 (350ml), patis (350 ml) from P20.50 to P25.65, while soy sauce (340ml) ranges from P16.25 to P17.35," it said.
The DTI approved the price increases on Feb. 13 but only made the list accessible on its website on Feb. 20.
Out of 242 goods under the SRP list, 186 or 77 percent retained their prices, DTI said.