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Villar, Pascual monitor Noche Buena prices

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Mark Villar joined officials of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) yesterday in their price monitoring of Noche Buena items in Divisoria, Manila.

“Now that Christmas is near, we need to strictly monitor the prices of products to ensure a happy Christmas for fellow Filipinos,” the chairman of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship said.

Villar, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual and other DTI officials inspected food items regularly used for the Noche Buena including pasta packages, spaghetti and tomato sauce, sandwich spread and canned goods. They checked whether these items are following the 2023 Price Guide for Noche Buena products released by the Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau last Nov. 21.

Villar emphasized the importance of regular price monitoring for the protection of consumers, in compliance with the Price Act. This law ensures the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all times while securing a fair return on investment for businesses.

“We are very festive people. The yearly celebration of Noche Buena is a fixture in the Filipino Christmas,” the senator said.

Both Villar and Pascual called for the public’s help in reporting any merchant or vendor that is non-compliant with DTI’s SRP and quality standards. For complaints, the general public can report to the DTI Hotline 1384 or to any social media accounts of the agency.

In a Viber message, Trade Assistant Secretary Amanda Nograles told The STAR that “based on our price monitoring, we found that NB items were sold below or at prices set in the price guide.”

Apart from Noche Buena items the inspection also monitored the enforcement of technical regulations of Christmas lights. “We were also able to confiscate Christmas lights without PS (Philippine Standard) mark or ICC (Import Commodity Clearance) sticker,” Nograles added.

Nograles earlier said that out of the 240 stock keeping units (SKUs), around 35 percent or 83 SKUs have implemented price increases of one to five percent. Also, 15 percent or 37 SKUs posted price increases of six to 10 percent, while 13 percent or 32 SKUs posted price increases of more