The Economic Development Cluster (EDC) has identified a number of measures to slow down the rise in consumer prices, which accelerated to 6.4 percent in August from 5.7 percent in July and 2.6 percent in the same period last year.
Ernie Peñaredondo
Malacañang OKs anti-inflation measures
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is amenable to several measures put forward by the economic team to curb inflationary pressures, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.

The Economic Development Cluster (EDC) has identified a number of measures to slow down the rise in consumer prices, which accelerated to 6.4 percent in August from 5.7 percent in July and 2.6 percent in the same period last year.

The highest contributors to inflation in August were electricity, gas and fuels, fish, rice, personal transport, vegetables and meat.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia said the recommendations were discussed during the Cabinet meeting last Tuesday alongside the proposed executive order (EO) to enforce these measures.

“We proposed measures to contain inflation and a corresponding EO to get them implemented straightaway—to which (President Duterte) agreed,” he said.

To drive down the prices of fish, the Department of Agriculture has committed to import more fish under a certificate of necessity and allow imports to be distributed in wet markets.

To address rice supply issues, 4.6 million sacks of rice available in warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA) would be immediately released to markets. This supply would be on top of the two million sacks contracted for delivery before the end of September and the five million sacks set to arrive in a month’s time. Another five million sacks would also be imported next year.

The EDC also recommended the simplification and streamlining of licensing procedures for rice imports of the NFA.

The Senate was likewise urged to pass within the month the Rice Tariffication Bill which would liberalize rice trade in the country, therefore increasing supply and driving down prices.

A monitoring team for rice distribution from ports to NFA warehouses and retail outlets would also be formed. This would be composed of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), NFA, Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and farmer groups.

To reduce the gap between farmgate and retail prices for chicken, DA and DTI would convene poultry producers and set up public markets where producers can sell directly to the end customer. DA would provide cold storage for poultry.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration would open the importation of sugar to direct users to lower cost for consumers.

The Bureau of Customs, meanwhile, would prioritize the release of essential food items in the ports.

INFLATION NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
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