AT LEAST two senators yesterday welcomed the lower inflation rate recorded in December 2018 but warned the government against complacency amid possible abuse by unscrupulous traders.
Senator Sonny Angara said that the slowing down of inflation is a welcome relief for the public after months of increasing prices and by the all-time high 6.7% inflation rate recorded last October.
The inflation rate slowly went down to 6% last November and eventually settled to 5.1% in December when consumers flocked to shopping malls and markets for the holiday spending.
“But goverment must not let down its guard in monitoring unscrupulous sales practices and overpricing of food, gas, diesel and other basic commodities,” added Angara.
While saying the lower inflation rate is good news for the country, Senator JV Ejercito still urged the Duterte administration to re-consider the suspension of the implementation of the second tranche of excise tax for petroleum this January.
“This is good news at medyo dahan-dahan nang naka-adjust ang lahat. Kaya nga sana ipagpaliban na muna ang implementasyon ng second round ng excise taxes sa petrolyo,” said Ejercito.
Some gasoline stations have already raised prices of their petroleum products even though the new excise tax has not taken effect.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the inflation rate slowed down due to slower yearly increases in prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, and transport.
The average inflation rate for the whole of 2018, however, reached 5.2 percent—an 11-year high—according to the statistics office.