Lower inflation shows Duterte’s ‘empathy to public clamor'

December 06, 2018
Salvador Panelo
Salvador Panelo

Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the deceleration of inflation in November, attributing it to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decisive action when prices of basic commodities swelled the previous months.

“The Palace accepts this as good news. We attribute this to the President’s empathy to public clamor and his decisive action,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press statement.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the year-on-year inflation eased to 6.0 percent in November from 6.7 percent in October 2018.

He said the anti-inflationary measures taken by the government includes the issuance of Administrative Order No. 13 to streamline procedures on the importation of agricultural products, including rice, as well as Memorandum Order (MO) Nos. 26, 27, and 28 to stabilize the prices of agriculture and fishery products at reasonable levels and maintain their sufficient supply in the markets.

“These measures address issues on food supply, among others, as there is a marked decrease in food inflation from 9.4 percent in October to 8 percent in November. Prices of rice, corn, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables have gone down,” Panelo said.

Panelo assured that the government will continue to be vigilant and monitor the prices of basic goods and commodities “to ensure that hunger incidence and food insecurity are eradicated”.

According to economic managers, November inflation is the lowest rate since the 5.7 percent rate in July this year.

“It is comforting for us that the slowdown will alleviate the struggles of poor Filipinos, especially now that the holiday season is just around the corner,” the economic managers said in a joint statement.

They said year-to-date inflation averaged 5.2 percent as of November, a 1.2 percentage points above the high end of the government’s inflation target range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent, but slightly below the 5.3 percent emerging forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for 2018.

The food and non-alcoholic beverages continue to be the main drivers of inflation as it decelerated to 8.0 percent last month from 9.4 percent in October while food inflation slowed to 7.7 percent in November from the previous month’s 9.2 percent.

The economic managers attributed it to the improvement in the supply of key agricultural commodities such as rice, fish and seafood, meat, vegetables, corn, and fruits.

They expressed optimism that inflation will stabilize further following the recent passage of the Rice Tariffication bill and the oil companies’ announcement of price rollback due to falling oil prices in the global market.

Approved already by Congress, the Rice Tariffication bill will open the rice market and will allow qualified players to import rice.