The wet market price of “siling labuyo”—the chili variant used to spice up sauces and dips in many Filipino homes skyrocketed to as much as P1,000 per kilo on Monday, which vendors blamed both on rising inflation and recent inclement weather that flooded farms and ruined the country’s supply of vegetables.
From just P600 a kilo a week ago, “labuyo” prices at Langaray Market in Malabon City reached at least P900, as vendors there blamed the high cost of vegetables they purchased from Divisoria, Metro Manila’s depot for most goods and commodities from across the country.
“Even a single piece of ‘siling pansigang’ [green chili] now goes for five pesos a piece, when it used to go for just one peso each,” a Malabon vendor told Manila Standard in the vernacular.
The green chili variant is usually used for “sinigang,” the soup dish that’s a staple for most Filipinos. Prices of other chili variants and spices in general have also risen, vendors admitted.
The steeper price tags are consistent with rising costs of vegetables across the metropolis, as vendors at the Mega Q-Mart in Quezon City also warned of even higher prices once newer supplies of farm goods reach the wet markets.
The Department of Finance also announced Monday that inflation likely hit its fastest pace in more than nine years at 5.88 percent for August, driven by “largely supply-side challenges which need to be addressed by improving productivity.”
In television interviews, the Nepa vendors said eggplants were now priced at P60 a kilo, followed by P70 for okra, cabbage and garlic; P80 for tomatoes and white onions; P100 for red onions; and P180 for carrots.
Even prices of dry goods are still rising, despite the Department of Trade and Industry issuing new guidelines for suggested retail prices in supermarkets effective Saturday, Sept. 1.
Consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc. said Monday it evaluated the latest SRP with the last DTI guidelines posted on Aug. 6 and found at least 13 items that saw their prices rise during that span.
Interviewed by GMA’s Balitanghali TV program, LKI president lawyer Vic Dimagiba said the Trade department’s agreement with major food manufacturers not to increase prices for at least three months wasn’t being followed.
The most notable increase, Dimagiba said, was for iodized salt, as supermarkets in Luzon priced it 10 percent higher than their counterparts in Visayas and Mindanao.
The total stock-keeping units or SKUs—shorthand for a particular item in a supermarket or grocery—under the expanded DTI SRP increased from 218 to 224 due to six brands of iodized salt added from the Vismin areas, he said.
“SKU SRP increases are from the old SRP of 166 SKUs,” Dimagiba said, adding that the year-to-date SRP increases on 117 SKUs was at 70.48 percent, including items such as candles and bottled water.
While there were no SRP increases in the new SKUs of the expanded SRP list, “using the expanded SRP of 224 SKU, year to date increase is 52.2 percent,” he added.