Oil Prices Down, Consumer Goods Remain Pricey

Manila Bulletin, January 28, 2016 | Go to article overview

Oil Prices Down, Consumer Goods Remain Pricey


It is an irony that defies logic.

While fuel prices have been plummeting, manufacturers of consumer goods have remained steadfast in not lowering the retail prices of their commodities sold in supermarkets.

Last Monday, the pump prices of oil products were slashed by P1.40 per liter on diesel and P.90 on gasoline. The lowering of the price was triggered by the $28 per barrel of crude oil in the world market.

Oil industry sources claim these are the lowest price adjustments since 2003.

The irony is that the consuming public seems to be still waiting on the wings without any clear indication of benefitting by way of reduced prices of consumer items from the scaled-down prices of oil products.

The Department of Trade insists that prices of prime commodities should be reduced by as much as P3.46, as a result.

Yet, consumers are the first to bear the brunt of indiscriminate price increases by sellers of goods whenever prices of gasoline and diesel rise.

Manufacturers are like a breed of what Hans Christen Andersen novels call "sly foxes."

What holds them from lowering their price tags?

Their ploy is all too familiar. They claim their suppliers are the first to increase their product costs. They reason out that increased delivery costs are levied on supplies that are delivered to the manufactures. They too are oil product dependent.

Lumped together, these product components reflect on the increased prices of consumer goods at the supermarket. The beleaguered housewife has to skimp on her budgeted purchases, and correspondingly, what we see is a sparse dining table.

And who are the most militant of "quick response" agitators whenever there are upward price adjustments?

The public transportation sector, that's who.

PUV operators and drivers readily take to the streets at the first sign of increased oil product prices. And strongly demand increased fares.

Now that oil products are sliding down, have they correspondingly slashed fares?

Their reason? Prices of spare parts and tires are escalating.

These guys are not called "street wise" for nothing.

(Last January 20, jeepney operators in Metro Manila and, Regions 3 and 4 reduced their minimum fare to P7. …

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