Trade chief: Effect of tax reform on basic goods' prices 'minimal'

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Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez went on a surprise visit to groceries in Manila, along with other trade officials.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 4) Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez shrugged off speculations that the new tax reform law will jack up prices of basic goods.

"Sa mga nananakot na tataas ng dalawang piso, limang piso wala ho. Punta sila sa mga key accounts. Maraming alternative. May tindahan na murang magbenta below SRP (suggested retail price)," Lopez told reporters during his visit to markets Thursday.

[Translation: Those who scare off consumers by saying prices will increase by two pesos, five pesos, there is no increase. They should go to key accounts. There are plenty of alternatives. There are stores who sell below the SRP.]

Lopez went on a surprise visit to groceries in Manila, along with other trade officials.

"Walang naga-adjust ng SRP, walang abiso na 30 days from now mag-increase sila. Sa ngayon wala," he said.

[Translation: No one adjusted SRP, without prior notice of the increase 30 days from the date. As of now, no one has done that.]

He said any impact on prices should be minimal, and will only happen in two to three weeks.

Here is how basic goods and commodities will increase once the tax reform takes effect:

Basic-prices-of-goods-tax-reform-law-infograhics.png The price increase in prime commodities is between three centavos, and a ₱1.57.  

Instant noodles, regular canned sardines, a 25-gram sachet of coffee, a can of meat loaf, and detergent soap only see a three or four-centavo increase in prices.

There will be a six to 10 centavo increase for a 10-piece pandesal pack, a bag of powdered milk, a can of evaporated milk, corned beef, and toilet soap.

Condensed milk and loaf bread will see a 11 to 14 centavo increase in prices, while a 40-kilogram bag of cement will be ₱1.57 more expensive than before.

The Trade Department calls on the public to report any unscrupulous trade via the consumer hotline 751-3233 and 0917-834-3330 and its advocacy bureau at 751-0384.

Those taking advantage of the new tax law will be charged with profiteering and will be fined P20,000 to P1-million, depending on the gravity of the offense.

CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.