By Jose Cielito Reganit
MANILA – The notable easing in inflation, from 4.9 percent in October to 4.1 percent in November, is a testament to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s commitment in stabilizing the economy and improving the lives of Filipinos, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said Tuesday.
In a statement, Romualdez said this positive development is also a testament to the collective efforts and resilience of the Filipino people.
“We began the year facing a 14-year inflation peak of 8.7 percent in January, driven by surges in food and fuel prices. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, as reflected in the September Pulse Asia survey where inflation was cited as the most pressing concern, the focus of the Marcos administration in addressing this problem has been strong and consistent,” he said.
President Marcos earlier said his administration is committed to arresting inflation and maintaining overall price stability through supply-side interventions and demand-side management measures.
Romualdez cited the price caps imposed by the President on regular-milled and well-milled rice in September when inflation was pegged at 6.1 percent.
Carlos Manapat, economics department chair at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), pointed out in a statement last Nov. 6 that the price caps helped ease price pressures on the Filipino’s staple food as it showed the market that the Marcos administration was willing to intervene in times of abnormal price surges.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, November’s positive trend is primarily attributed to a slowdown in the increase of food prices and a reduction in transport costs.
The heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages sector showed a year-on-year growth rate of 5.7 percent in November, down from 7 percent in October.
The transport sector also recorded a 0.8 percent annual decrease, a reversal from the 1 percent annual growth observed in October 2023.
Core inflation, which excludes select food and energy items, has also decelerated to 4.7 percent in November from 5.3 percent in the previous month.
Romualdez vowed that the House of Representatives, in partnership with President Marcos and in coordination with relevant government agencies, will continue to pursue its campaign to curb inflation and foster a more stable and prosperous economy.
“We will continue to monitor the prices of rice and other staples. If we notice an unreasonable and unjustified increase, we will not hesitate to recommend to the President the reimposition of a price limit,” he said.
He said the House would also promptly exercise its oversight power of investigation and launch inquiries when needed to stop hoarding, profiteering, price manipulation, smuggling, and similar practices and to remove bottlenecks in the value chain.
Romualdez also vowed to expand and hasten the implementation of the poverty intervention project dubbed Cash Assistance and Rice Distribution (CARD), which was implemented in response to President Marcos’ challenge for the House of Representatives to provide rice aid for people experiencing poverty.
He said CARD aims to reach more areas, especially remote communities, to help more people and ultimately have a favorable impact on food prices and poverty in general.
In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, CARD teams have distributed rice and financial assistance to thousands of beneficiaries in Metro Manila and several provinces, including Laguna, Bukidnon, and Isabela.
“We are optimistic that these efforts will yield even more positive results, contributing to the joy and peace of the holiday season for every Filipino family. Together, we can look forward to a brighter and more prosperous new year,” Romualdez said. (PNA)