By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) may allow stores and pharmacies to sell surgical masks at higher prices due to the increasing cost of raw materials here and abroad amid the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said that from the current suggested retail price (SRP) of P8 per piece, prices of face masks could be raised to P10 to P12 per piece.
“Oo, kinoconsider natin dahil iba-iba na ‘yong costing ngayon sa labas, mga suppliers sa ibang bansa (Yes, we are considering it because the costs of raw materials are now varying among our suppliers outside of the country),” Lopez said in an interview over radio DZRH Friday morning.
“Dito lamang, ang raw material sa atin, nagtaasan. Kaya dito lang, ‘yong ating supplier sa Bataan, ang kanilang binigay na cost sa atin ay P8 na piece, dati mga P1 to P2 lang dati, kasi wala pang crisis. Pero nong nagumpisa na itong kahigpitan ng raw materials sa world market, tumaas na mga cost. Sa ibang bansa, nag-P25 to P50 per piece (Just here in the country, prices of raw materials have increased. Our supplier in Bataan, for instance, said they will be producing it for P8 per piece, from only P1 to P2 when there was still no crisis. But when the decline in raw materials started in the world market, costs have spiked. In other countries, prices of face masks have reached P25 toP5) per piece),” he explained.
Lopez said local producers committed to keep their costs at P8 per piece at most. Drug stores, however, are concerned since they will have no room for profit under the current SRP.
“Kinausap natin ngayon uli, papayag na sila ngayon na kumuha at P8 kung maiaakyat na sa P10 ang SRP (So we talked to the drug stores, and they agreed to purchase at P8 if the SRP is raised to P10),” he said.
“Basta payagan natin ng additional P2 lang. Kung P8 ang kuha then P10 ang SRP. Kung P10, P12 lang (But we will only allow an additional P2. If they purchased for P8, then the SRP would be P10. If they got it at P10, then it should sold at P12),” he added.
Lopez said the Covid-19, has supply chain problems not only for alcohol and sanitary products, but other goods as well as most factories in China, particularly in Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, remain closed.
The country’s exports to China also saw a decline as demand dropped due to the limited movement of people.
Local producers are now looking for alternative sources of raw materials, he said.