PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said that the Philippines is rather helpless in addressing inflation or the unabated increase in prices of basic goods.
Duterte said that having valedictorians in his Cabinet, namely, Finance Chief Sonny Dominguez and Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, among others, is simply not enough because of “trade imbalance.”
“I have assembled all of the talents available... low-key but brilliant minds. ‘Yun ba namang inflation na ‘yan, kung sa mga utak na ‘yan hindi kaya, hindi talaga kaya eh. Wala, wala tayong magawa kasi… trade balance is not really even. We pay more buying outside than we export,” Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang on Wednesday during the Philippine Quality Award Conferment Ceremony.
The President said that this was also due to the fact that the country is not an oil producer.
“We don’t have the buffer on oil. The reserve, we can just increase little by little, but we don’t have that luxury, and that is why inflation is high. You can crucify me, behead me, I cannot do anything in oil,” Duterte said in another speech during the conferment of the National Artist award.
Duterte, however, clarified that his government is not blameless.
“I’m not saying that we are not responsible for the inflation because when you are here, you swallow everything. Sa panahon mo eh,” Duterte added.
The country posted a nine-year high inflation rate of 6.7 percent in September, and the country’s inflation rate has been worse than the government expectation of 4.5 percent since last June.
Based on a Pulse Asia survey last month, 53 percent of Filipinos’ top concern is the inflation rate.