By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Seeking to ensure that prices of basic and prime goods are reasonably priced down to the grassroots level and to guard against profiteering, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is launching an accreditation program of community sari-sari stores that will adhere to their respective suggested retail price (SRP) ranges.
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that DTI Suking Tindahan project will be launched soon. Participants who will commit to sell within the SRP ranges for basic goods and commodities will be registered and given a badge of DTI Suking Tindahan Tanda ng Sulit at Resonableng Presyo.
The plan is for a bigger community store or a corner store or a so-called destiny store in a particular area to voluntarily sell basic goods and prime commodities within the SRP level. Unlike the previous Kadiwa store, which is government-owned, the DTI Suking Tindahan is a private cooperative where “every Juan dela Cruz can run to for his basic needs.”
According to Lopez, he thought of this project because 60 to 70 percent of the masses still source their supply of basic goods from the mom and pop stores.
To encourage more participants, these DTI Suking Tindahan will be given access to preferential rates that manufacturers grant to their wholesalers. The preferential rates would enable these retailers to pass on the products at modest 6-8 percent margin only. But these stores will now be subjected to the DTI’s strict price monitoring and stringent penalties against profiteering.
At present, the DTI no longer requires manufacturers to have their SRPs approved, but the agency still continues to monitor supermarkets and grocery stores to ensure they follow the SRPs.
“The Suking Tindahan program is aligning with President Duterte’s thrust to improve consumer welfare and initiate pro-poor programs. To ensure easier access to cheaper SRP prices,” he said.
Basic necessities are classified as goods vital to the needs of consumers for their sustenance and existence but not limited rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh eggs, fresh and processed milk, infant formulas, fresh vegetables, root crops, bottled water, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, detergents, firewood, charcoal, candles and other commodities as maybe classified by the DTI and the Department of Agriculture. The list also includes LPG and kerosene and drugs as classified by the Department of Health (DOH).
Prime commodities refer to fresh fruits, dried, processed and canned pork, beef and poultry, meat, dairy products not falling under basic necessities, noodles, onions, garlic, diapers, herbicides, poultry, swine and cattle feeds, veterinary products for poultry, swine and cattle feeds, veterinary products for poultry, swine and cattle, paper, school supplies, nipa shingle, plyboard, construction nails, batteries, electrical supplies, light bulbs, steel wire and other commodities that may be classified by the DTI and the DA.