Hontiveros, Villanueva ask gov’t to address inflation
As inflation for July reached 5.7 percent, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Joel Villanueva have called on government to prioritize the issue on rising prices of basic commodities.
“Controlling inflation must be the priority agenda of the economic managers. They must explore all possible actions in making sure that prices of commodities are manageable,” Villanueva said in a statement on Wednesday.
He also questioned the country’s top economic officials if the surge in prices will ever have an end point.
“Ang tanong ko sa ating mga economic managers, hanggang kailan dapat maghigpit ng sinturon si Juan bago kayo umaksyon para tugunan ang problema ng pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin?” he added.
For Hontiveros, the current administration should divert the energy directed towards campaigning federalism to contingency measures that would aid poor Filipino families.
“Instead of insisting on its credibility-challenged federalism, the Duterte government must focus its attention on finding ways to increase the citizens’ purchasing power to help them dodge the impact of the sky-high inflation rate,” Hontiveros said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
“President Duterte must read the writing on the wall. The climbing rates of inflation can deflate his public support and approval,” she added.
Hontiveros also criticized the controversial lewd federalism campaign involving Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar.
“Ang kailangan ng mamamayan ay hindi nakakasukang ‘pepedederalismo’ kundi ekonomiyang magpapagaan sa kanilang paghihirap mismo,” she said in jest.
Villanueva said that the government can pursue a unified policy to attend to concerns of high prices. On their part, he said that the Senate is doing its job to ease the situation.
“We therefore urge the government to provide a comprehensive policy direction with all concerned government agencies and of course Congress on how to mitigate inflation,” Villanueva said.
“In the Senate, we are about to co-author Senate Bill No. 1476 which will liberalize the importation of rice in the country and provide consumers greater access to cheaper rice products,” he explained.
Hontiveros also proposed measures to address the increasing prices of basic commodities. According to her, the government must ensure the cash transfer to all 10 million poor families, change the policy on rice, speed up the infrastructure projects, and increase wages of workers.
Both senators also said that cutting the value added tax from 12 percent back to 10 percent would relieve some of the burden from Filipinos living in poverty lines.
“The government should certify as urgent the passage of Senate Bill No. 1671 otherwise known as the ‘Bawas VAT’ bill to provide relief for the lower economic deciles of the population affected by the TRAIN law,” Hontiveros said.
“We are also proposing to lower the VAT to 10 percent. We urge the government to support and fast track the social mitigating measures that will cushion the impact of TRAIN to the vulnerable,” Villanueva added. /je
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