Press Release
November 13, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today demanded an explanation from the Department of Trade and Industry to explain bakers' complaint that they are conspiring to keep flour prices high despite a drop in wheat prices abroad, forcing the bakers to keep prices of bread and pan de sal high.

"Niloloko tayo nitong mga flour millers, at mukhang kasama ang DTI sa sarsuela. Biro mo, pumayag ang DTI na manatili sa P940 bawat bag ng arina, o pagbaba ng P17 lang. Subalit ang presyo ng trigo ay bumaba ng halos kuwarenta porsyento na mula Hunyo (We are being fooled by these flour millers, and it looks like the DTI is part of this sarsuela. To think, the DTI allowed millers to retain the cost of P940 per bag of flour, or only a P17 decrease. Meanwhile, wheat has gone down by over 40% since June)," said Roxas,

A former DTI secretary, Roxas met the other day with members of the Philippine Baking Industry, Filipino-Chinese Bakery-Association, Inc. and the Philippine Federation of Bakers Association, Inc., among other bakers' associations who aired their grievances over the high price of flour.

Figures from the United States Wheat Associates showed that wheat imports cost $512 per metric ton in June, but prices have gone down to $317/MT as of this month, or a 38.1% drop.

The P17 price reduction for a 25-kilo bag of hard flour, on the other hand, only amounts to a 1.8 percent drop.

"Dapat nga, base sa dating presyo, P600 na lang ang bawat bag ng arina. Ibig sabihin, pwede nang ibaba sa P40 ang bawat tinapay at P2 ang bawat piraso ng pan de sal. Hindi nga lang nabababa ito dahil sa nananatiling taas ng presyo ng arina (Based on the previous price, each bag of flour should cost only P600. This means that bread could go down to P40 for a loaf of bread, and P2 for each piece of pan de sal. This isn't going down because of the continued high price of flour)," he said.

"Ang mga breadmakers, sumasabay lang sila sa kanta ng mga flour miller. Taga-luto lang naman sila ng arina e. Kapag bumaba presyo ng arina, bababa rin dapat ang presyo ng tinapay at pan de sal (Breadmakers only go along with the flour millers. They just cook the flour. If the price of flour goes down, the price of bread and pan de sal should also go down)," he added.

The present price of a 600-gram loaf of bread is P56, while a 30-gram piece of pan de sal costs P2.80. Roxas noted that bakers' groups were planning a small decrease in the price of bread, of about P0.50 per loaf of bread and P0.25 for pan de sal, to correspond with the minimal decrease in the price of flour.

The Ilonggo senator is now culling relevant data on the costs of manufacturing bread, such as freight costs, the varying peso-dollar exchange rate, taxes and the cost of other ingredients, so as to determine the fairness in the pricing of flour and the final bread product.

"Bakit ang taas-taas pa rin ang presyo ng arina? Siguro naman may sagot ang mga miller nito, kaya dapat nilang ipaliwanag ito (Why is the price of flour still so high? Perhaps they have an answer, and they should explain this)," he said.

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