Focus on economic issues than silencing critics, Robredo asks Duterte admin

/ 04:53 PM September 06, 2018
Vice President Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo delivers her speech in Quezon City on September 3, 2018, calling on government to address issues of rice supply shortage, starting with the appointment of a capable National Food Authority (NFA) leader. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Instead of merely brushing off the over nine-year high inflation rate in August, Vice President Leni Robredo dared the Duterte administration to own up to its failures that led to the accelerated increase in the prices of commodities.

Robredo said government should refrain from saying that high inflation rate is a sign of a developing economy.


“We ask the government to stop dismissing inflation as a sign of a growing economy. Economic growth is meaningless if it does not redound to the uplifting of the lives of the poorest segment of our society,” Robredo noted.

According to Robredo, the government should instead focus on issues such as keeping rice supply in a steady state, reviewing excise tax on fuel, re-evaluating the cash assistance system to the poorest of the poor rather than busying itself in silencing administration critics.


“What our people need is for its leaders to work together for solutions: the stabilization of the country’s rice supply through the installation of competent and trustworthy leadership at the NFA, revisiting the excise tax on fuel and any further impositions; and re-assessing whether the unconditional cash transfers provided by law are enough and ensure that all qualified beneficiaries get the assistance at the soonest possible time,” Robredo said.

“Instead of shutting down those who dare to point out its inefficiencies, may the administration finally rise to the challenge of putting forward coherent solutions to bring down rising prices,” she added.

Robredo said the 6.4% inflation in August confirmed their fears that prices of commodities would skyrocket without effective government action, as they have warned government several times before.

“The 6.4% inflation rate for August released by the government Wednesday is a confirmation of what we repeatedly warned about — that the price of basic commodities like rice will continue to rise without effective government intervention, making it harder for Filipino families to make ends meet on a daily basis,” the Vice President pointed out.

“Our previous call to this administration to do what needs to be done to ease the difficulties that ordinary Filipinos have to face has become even more urgent,” she also said. “Hunger and poverty — exacerbated by rising prices — are our country’s most serious concerns today; our government should address these problems at the soonest possible time.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Wednesday that the 6.4 percent inflation in August was due to steadily rising  prices of food, alcoholic, and tobacco products.

The 6.4 percent August inflation was the highest since the 6.6 percent rate recorded in March 2009.  


Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno however said that while the government needs to address the increasing inflation, he expects the rate to taper down by the end of 2018. He also said the government is likely to meet its inflation expectations next year.  /kga

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