The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) yesterday said it welcomes the publication by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of guide prices of cement but noted these prices are not mandated.
But CeMAP said there should only be one guide price for the product.
"(CeMAP members) agree with the DTI objective of stabilising cement prices and will support DTI in all the practical steps to achieve this," said CeMAP president Ernesto Ordonez.
The advertisement of the DTI published last January 9 which listed cement guide prices stated:"Manufacturers, dealers, and retailers selling above the guide price and those refusing to sell will be dealt with accordingly, pursuant to RA 7581 or the Price Act."
"It is a good idea to give guidance on prices. Though the guide prices are clearly not mandated price ceilings, they are very useful as an indicator of a commodity’s worth."
Quoting the Price Act, CeMAP members explained that profiteering can be charged only when a product is sold "at a price grossly in excess of its true worth." One case of profiteering cited in this law is when a product is sold "at more than 10 percent of its price in the immediately preceding month."
CeMAP said that cement manufacturers will meet separately with DTI officials to discuss possible oversight in the publication of the DTI prices, which in some cases are different from the prices the manufacturers have submitted.
CeMAP noted that according to the advertisement, it may be interpreted that one firm would be allowed to sell the same cement product in a given place at a much lower price than another firm, which would contradict the principle of equal treatment for similar products. The dealer and retailer margins allowed for a firm is also lower than another firm selling the same kind of product.