Villarin: 6.7% inflation rate reflects ‘ineffectual’ Duterte admin response
The 6.7 percent October inflation rate reflects the “dismissive and ineffectual response” of the Duterte administration to rising costs of basic commodities, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said Tuesday.
Although the rate of increase in prices of basic commodities was the same as last September, National Statistician Lisa Grace S. Bersales said “there seems to be a slowing in (the) increase of prices” since the month-on-month increase in prices of basic commodities further eased to 0.3 percent last month from September’s 0.8 percent.
“President ‘Pahirap’ Duterte is dragging his feet on inflation blaming global external factors and saying he can’t do anything about it,” Villarin said in a statement.
The opposition lawmaker added that the P11 billion shabu scandal that rocked the Bureau of Customs, also contributed to a backlog in the release of imported goods including rice, which he said could have mitigated high prices.
“Now his order for a military takeover of the BOC worsens the situation,” Villarin said.
Villarin also reiterated Akbayan’s call for the eventual repeal of the excise taxes on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, saying its imposition “has become irrelevant given that oil prices have risen above $80 per barrel with no projections prices will go down next year.”
The suggestion of the President’s economic managers to suspend the excise tax on fuel for a few months will also not mitigate high prices, Villarin added.
Leyte 2nd District Rep. Henry Ong meanwhile appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) implementing regulations on fuel excise taxes for 2018 and 2019 with the October inflation rate staying at 6.7 percent.
The chair of the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries pointed out that while only Congress can amend the TRAIN law, the President can “order the Department of Finance to suspend the implementing revenue regulations of the BIR while those regulations undergo revisions to cushion the inflationary impact.” /muf
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