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Group hits DTI in processed meat pricing


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:20:00 05/25/2009

Filed Under: Food, Consumer Issues

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) has complained about the ?interference? by a unit of the Department of Trade and Industry in the pricing of its member-companies? products.

In a letter to Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya dated May 8, 2009, Pampi executive director Francisco Buencamino said the DTI unit?s action had brought difficulties in their business operations.

The subject of Pampi?s complaint is the recent order of the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (BTRCP), requiring meat processing firms to ?justify and further substantiate price adjustments for each of their products, particularly those that affect production costs such as raw materials, labor, distribution and power by accomplishing the [given] matrices.?

Members of Pampi could not be required to disclose their cost details as this would violate their right to protect their cost-formulation from public display and view of competitors, the group said.

?Even the DTI will not be able to guarantee the secrecy and confidentiality of this information. As we in business are well aware of, information about our costs are a well-kept and highly guarded secret of every business.?

Pampi also questioned BTRCP head Pedro Mendoza?s pronouncement that the deadline for submission of this new requirement had been set, and that the failure of manufacturers to disclose, substantiate or justify price changes within the pre-set deadline would force the DTI to freeze the suggested retail price (SRP) of meat products.

The association said the DTI had to explain its mode of monitoring the companies and their prices, as the law allows price control only during emergency situations.

Under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, the National Price Coordinating Council may invoke automatic price control only during state of disaster, state of emergency, state of rebellion, state of war or if the privilege of writ of habeas corpus is suspended.

?We find it strange and irregular for the DTI to attempt a freeze on our SRPs,? Pampi said.

Pampi members said their prices were set based on costs and market positioning, brand ranking and quality specifications.



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