DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As the inflation rate in the region has reached to 7.1 percent this year, government officials claimed that it is still manageable.
In a media briefing on Monday, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda 11) regional director Maria Lourdes D. Lim said the inflation rate has not yet reached the double-figure after it accelerated further to 6.4 percent in August.
“So for now, since it is low, we could still manage and the more immediate measure is ensure the stocks particular to the basic food item in the market,” Lim said
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) regional office reported that the current inflation rate is the highest in the region in nine years after its increased to 6.6 percent in March 2009 and 6.2 percent in July 2018.
The PSA has also reported that the headline inflation rate in the country accelerated to 6.4 percent year-on-year in August this year, faster than the previous month’s 5.7 percent and the 2.6 percent of the same period last year.
“This brings the year-to-date inflation to 4.8 percent, beyond the upper-band of the government’s inflation target of 2 to 4 percent, and slightly below the BSP’s revised full-year inflation forecast of 4.9 percent.”
PSA regional director Ruben D. Abaro said the highest contributors to inflation in August are electricity, gas and fuels, fish, rice, personal transport, vegetables, and meat.
With the increase in prices of commodities in the market, the National Food Authority asked the public not to panic.
NFA director for Davao Region Lester Romeo E. Malana said that panic buying of goods in the market would further push prices up. He said the hoarding of goods as a result of the wrong presumption to the rise of prices in the market will result in wastage.
“We are also asking our consumers not to panic because when they panic they tend to buy more and that is domestic hoarding. We should only buy what is needed,” Lim said.
Lim also assured the public that the NFA has enough supply of rice until the year ends. The NFA, he said, has 4.6 million sacks of rice available and will be immediately released to markets across the country. There is also an expected 2 million sacks of rice from the previous contract to be delivered before the end of September. The rice harvest is now starting in many parts of the country, he added. The projected harvest of 12.6 million metric tons of rice for 2018 is equivalent to 252 million sacks.
But in a released article of Ibon Foundation, the group highlighted that after just a little over two years of the Duterte administration, the economy is stumbling with adverse movements in key economic indicators.
“The majority of Filipinos are poor and gained little when times were supposedly good – but they will be hit the worst when the illusion of progress is finally broken.”
Ibon added that government economists like to invoke macroeconomic ‘fundamentals’ particularly when supposed economic good news are not being felt by the people.
They also noted that the reported low unemployment rate of 5.5% or just 2.4 million unemployed Filipinos in April 2018 is misleading based on a revised definition of unemployment that among others does not count millions of discouraged workers.
IBON’s preliminary estimate according to the original definition is an unemployment rate of around 9.1% or some 4.1 million unemployed. Adding the 6.9 million underemployed then means 11.1 million unemployed and underemployed Filipinos which is one in four of the labor force.
“Employment generation is in any case tepid. Job generation in April 2018 from the same period in the year before was an unremarkable 625,000 new jobs. This is just around the historical average since the 1980s and actually even less than average annual employment generation of over 800,000 since the 2000s. The quality of work is moreover undermined by low pay, poor benefits and apparently unabated contractualization.” (davaotoday.com)