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Prices of rice, sardines, noodles seen to increase in 2024

Budget-conscious Filipinos may have a tougher time getting the most out of their grocery money in 2024 as price hikes for basic commodities such as rice, canned sardines, instant noodles, and milk may be imminent in the coming days.

According to a 24 Oras report on Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said manufacturers of these products along with canned meat, coffee, bottled water, salt, and condiments have pending petitions for price increases.

Depending on the product and the weight, DTI said, the requested price hikes range from P0.25 to P7.25.

For bread products such as Pinoy tasty and Pinoy pandesal, the price adjustment may come at P2 to P2.50.

Even manufacturers of other essentials such as batteries, candles, and soap have asked the government to raise prices.

The DTI said manufacturers have petitioned for the price increases as early as 2022, but were just asked to defer the implementation.

"Kasalukuyan pong nakikipag-usap, nakikipagtawaran ang DTI sa mga manufacturers kung paano kumbaga magkita sa gitna," said DTI Assistant Secretary Amanda Nograles.

(The DTI is coordinating with the manufacturers to find a way to arrive at a compromise.)

"Ngayong 2024, hindi na po mapipigilan dahil kung maiipit ang mga manufacturers, 'yun mga matatamaan mga trabaho," she said.

(This 2024, the price increases cannot be stopped because if manufacturers are pushed to a corner, jobs will be affected.)

Not all at once

Out of the over 200 items in DTI's list of necessities and prime commodities, manufacturers of 63 of these have requested for price hikes.

The DTI said, however, that it was working to soften the blow on consumers' pockets.

"Hindi lahat ia-approve sa bulto lahat ngayon January. Kung sino nauna nag-file noong 2022 pa at saka early 2023, 'yan ang mauunang ire-release ng DTI," said Nograles.

(We will not approve these all at once this January. The DTI will first release [approvals] of those who filed petitions in 2022 and early 2023.)

"Sana 'wag mag-alala ang ating mga consumers natin kasi siyempre iniisip naman din ng DTI paano 'yang pacing, magandang timing para ma-rollout ang approval," she added.

(We hope our consumers will not be alarmed because the DTI is studying the acing on when we will roll out the approval.)

Rice prices up

Meanwhile, farmers' group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) reported that prices of well-milled rice have increased by P2 per kilogram to P54 from P52.

However, SINAG said an additional P2 per kilogram may be imposed as prices of rice products remain high in the world market, where the Philippines gets its additional supply.

"Nasa $620 per metric ton dahil doon sa El Niño," said SINAG Chairperson Rosendo So.

(Prices of rice products are now at $620 per metric ton due to the El Niño.)

Imported rice coming

Based on its monitoring, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that well-milled rice currently retails for P40 to P55 per kilogram in Metro Manila markets.

"May parating na bigas na imported pero ang problema mataas pa rin ang presyo sa international market. We cannot expect na bababa ng mababang-mababa 'yung presyo so hopefully ang makuha na ibang sources ay mababa 'yung presyo," said DA Spokesperson Arnel de Mesa.

(We have imported rice arriving in the local market, but the problem is prices are still high in the international market. We cannot expect that retail prices will fall to very low levels so hopefully, we can find other sources with low import prices.)

"Sa ngayon, we need to secure talaga 'yung supply alam natin magkakaroon ng El Niño. So there will be an additional challenge doon sa level ng productivity," he said.

(Right now, we need to secure supply as we brace for the impact of the El Niño. That's an additional challenge for our level of productivity.)

Last December, the DA announced that the private sector would import 495,000 MT of rice to augment the country's supply and meet the needs of the population until the start of the next harvest season in March 2024. — Sundy Mae Locus/ VDV, GMA Integrated News