Browsing the net using the search terms “Suggested Retail Price (SRP)”, I found out that in most countries, SRP is used by manufacturers to prevent retailers from selling at cheaper prices. This is done to thwart big sellers from driving their smaller competitors out of business. But in the Philippines, the reverse is more applicable. Retailers have the propensity to price their goods higher and the SRP is used to prevent profiteering.
But yes, just like the Philippines, the SRP is not a mere suggestion in a number of countries. It is a directive. Violate it and you go to the calaboose!
Early today, Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) mentioned on television that in various public markets in Metro Manila, they will be publishing the Suggested Retail Prices of basic commodities and monitoring its compliance. All those found to be selling above the SRP will be charged in court. She added that manufacturers pegged the SRP's of their products at levels deemed fair for both consumers and retailers. Going above the SRP is frowned upon for it makes superior products uncompetitive and cause customer migration, Maglaya added.
This column would like to add that in times of economic crisis, uncontrolled price increases have the potential of fueling unrest like what happened in Haiti where rioting came about from the shortage of food and high prices.
Calling the DTI hotline for more details, I was referred to Price Act (RA 7581) and upon close examination, here's what I found:
Mandated price control (MPC) where the Price Coordinating Council (PPC) or the implementing agency may recommend the imposition of mandated price ceilings on any or all of the products that fall under the list of basic necessities and prime commodities when there is impendency/threat, existence or effects of a calamity or emergency or any event that causes artificial or unreasonable increase in prices; or whenever the prevailing prices have risen to unreasonable levels. This shall require the approval of the President.
To report a violation, consumers may call the DTI hotline at (+632) 751-3330.