List: Economic managers' proposed measures to immediately temper inflation
( - September 5, 2018 - 7:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s economic managers on Wednesday presented a list of planned reforms that they said could immediately cool down runaway inflation if implemented this month.

Inflation rose for the eighth consecutive month to 6.4 percent in August, the fastest pace in nearly a decade. This may pressure monetary authorities to hike policy rates for the fourth time this year.

The August print exceeded July’s 5.7 percent and topped the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ worst case scenario estimate for the month. In the first eight months, inflation averaged 4.8 percent, well above the central bank's 2-4 percent target range for the year.

In a joint statement released after a meeting, the government’s economic development cluster proposed “immediate” reforms to combat rising commodity prices.

“It’s very difficult to quantify [the possible reduction in inflation rate] at this point but if the proposed measures are implemented immediately within September, there’s a great likelihood that the August inflation of 6.4 percent could be the peak,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told a press conference.

The planned measures include the following:

  • FISH: The Department of Agriculture will replicate the issuance of certificates of necessity to allow imports to be distributed in wet markets in the country.
  • RICE: More than four million sacks of rice available in National Food Authority warehouses will be immediately released to the market across the country. More sacks of rice will be imported. The economic managers will also recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the issuance of a directive to further simplify and streamline the licensing procedures for rice imports of the NFA. Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry, NFA, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and farmer groups will form a monitoring team for surveillance of rice from ports to NFA warehouses and retail outlets.
  • CHICKEN: The DA and DTI will convene poultry producers and set up public markets where producers can sell directly to the end customer. DA will provide cold storage for this purpose.
  • SUGAR: The Sugar Regulatory Administration will open importation of sugar to direct users to moderate cost to consumers.
  • VEGETABLES: No action; spike in prices attributed to seasonal weather conditions.
  • The Bureau of Customs will prioritize the release of essential food items in the ports.

“The government’s economic team has previously announced that inflation is expected to peak in the third quarter before tapering off towards the latter part of the year, and then fall within the government’s target by next year,” the country’s policymakers said.

“However, inflation in August was beyond the median market forecast. We remain steadfast in putting forward and accelerating these measures that will address food prices for all Filipinos,” they added. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 6, 2018 - 9:09am

The growth of prices of goods and services peaked at 6.7 percent in August this year—the highest inflation rate in nine years.

Metro Manila also suffered from staggering 7-percent inflation last month, forcing Filipino consumers to tighten belts even further.

Inflation has continuously climbed for eight straight months since January this year as President Rodrigo Duterte signed the TRAIN law, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion.

The Philippines' inflation rate is the highest in Southeast Asia. The inflation rate breached economic managers' earlier hoped-for ceiling of 4 percent.

November 6, 2018 - 9:09am

The country's headline inflation for October remains steady at 6.7 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced Tuesday.

According to the PSA, the top three contributors to the overall inflation are:

  • food and non-alcoholic beverages
  • housin, water, electricity, gas and other fuels
  • transport
October 25, 2018 - 12:00pm

"Shortchange is coming," Akbayan party-list says in a statement referring to President Rodrigo Duterte's remark that he can't do anything about rising oil prices which he blamed as the culprit behind inflation.

"Nascam ang taumbayan sa mga pangako niyang tutulungan niya ang mga mahihirap. Basta isyu na nakataya ang buhay ng mga ordinaryong pilipino gaya ng taas presyo, ang bilis sumuko ni Duterte," Akbayan party-list spokesperson Gio Tingson says.

In a speech on Wednesday night at the conferment rites of this year's National Artist Awards, Duterte said the increase in prices of oil is behind the rise in prices of goods.

"And you can crucify me if you want. Behead me if you want in public. I cannot do anything about the oil," the president said. 

October 19, 2018 - 10:18am

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas announces that Q3 inflation rose to 6.2 percent from the previous quarter's 4.8 percent.

October 5, 2018 - 10:43am

The government's economic team says in a statement that it understands that many Filipinos, "particularly those who toil so hard just to keep up", have been feeling the effects of faster inflation. 

"We assure everyone that we are working swiftly to temper the rise in the prices of goods and offer relief to those most affected. We remain committed to our goal of ensuring price stability, along with our overarching aim of translating sustained broad-based economic growth to comfortable lives for everyone," the team — the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance, and Department of Budget and Management — say.

The agencies note in a joint statement that non-food inflation has slowed down to 4.0 percent in September from 4.1 percent and that inflation in the National Capital Region was at 6.3 percent in September against 7.0 percent in August.

"These clear signs of easing boost our confidence that inflation will taper off by year-end and go back to our target range by early next year. But we must couple this optimism with quick and focused actions in order to sustain gains made so far in keeping inflation in check," they say.

October 5, 2018 - 9:11am

Inflation in September was at 6.7 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority says, up from 6.4 percent in August 2018.

PSA says inflation in the National Capital Region was slower at 6.3 percent in September, and higher outside the capital at 6.7 percent. The highest inflation in the regions was 10.1 percent in Bicol and lowest in Central Luzon at 4.5 percent.

Inflation for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels moved slower in September, it also says.

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