Speaker hails good news on inflation rate

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the House of Representatives in welcoming the good news about the lower inflation rate.

As an economist, Arroyo said this must be sustained through swift actions so that people will feel the effects.

Arroyo had presented several suggestions to the government’s economic managers on how to address increasing inflation.

“It is good that inflation is on a downtrend.  In general, to the extent that so-called domestic supply side factors are involved, the government’s agencies must act quickly on the implementation side, to get the plans and programs going on the ground and produce results our people will feel in their day to day lives,” Arroyo said.

“The focus must now be on implementing things quickly and efficiently, in all fronts,” he added.

This is consistent with some Cabinet members’ call for vigorous implementation of the government’s infrastructure program.

“We must produce tangible results all around during the second half of the President’s term,” she said.

The Philippines’ inflation crisis showed signs of easing, as the rate slowed down to 5.1 percent in December 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced.

December is usually the month when inflation kicks higher as people have more cash to spend and consume more than the usual.

1PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero agreed with Arroyo, as he urged government to sustain the gains.

Romero said to sustain the gains against inflation, the Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act must be swiftly implemented, rental rates on housing units for the poor and middle class and business space for small entrepreneurs must be tamed, and more safety nets are needed fast.

Romero warned that the  combined impact of the increase in fuel excise taxes, lingering effects of Usman, Ompong, and Rosita on regions worst-hit by floods and landslides, and the reenacted budget will dampen economic growth figures of the first half of 2019.

“With world oil prices now at current low levels, it is now time to build the country’s national strategic fuel reserves to shield all Filipinos from efforts of OPEC to revive crude oil prices,” Romero said.

“It is also time to abolish, de-fund or privatize obsolete government owned or controlled corporations, so that the savings and the privatization proceeds can be better spent on the social safety nets,” he added.

Meanwhile, opposition solon Tom Villarin said that while the cooling down of inflation is a good sign it is not a cause for celebration as prices of goods are still high compared to the previous year’s prices and annual inflation of only 2.7 percent in 2017.

Low wages also constrict the purchasing power of the vast majority who bear the brunt of the TRAIN law that triggered inflation, Villarin said.