Zarate insists: Prices of goods still high even with lower inflation rates
MANILA, Philippines – Prices of basic goods are still high even with a relatively-low 0.9 percent inflation rate for September, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Friday.
Zarate explained that while the low inflation rate meant that there was no spike in prices, this did not mean that the cost of goods went down to their levels before high inflation rates in 2018.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced earlier that the inflation rate last month was at 0.9 percent, the lowest since May 2016.
“(This) does not mean that the prices of basic goods are now lower. Truth to tell, it only means that there is a minimal increase in the prices of goods last month, but, the prices remain high since the banner 6.7 percent inflation rate last year,” Zarate said in a statement.
The lawmaker said that even if the official data from the PSA says that inflation rate for a month would be at zero percent, it would only mean that the price is as high as the price last month — which was influenced by previous monthly inflation rates.
“What consumers want to hear is the lowering of prices and not just the rate of inflation. As it is, even if we have a zero inflation last month, it only means that there is no price increase, but, prices are still high, nonetheless,” Zarate explained.
The inflation rate peaked last September and October 2018 at 6.7 percent, the highest since a 6.6 percent increase was recorded in March 2009. Prior to that month, in August 2018, a 6.4 percent inflation rate was recorded.
Administration critics blamed the high inflation rates at the government’s new tax policies, specifically the Tax Reform for Acceleration for Inclusion (TRAIN) law, although Department of Finance officials insisted this was not the case.
According to Zarate, the low rates are not a cause for celebration because government still a lot of issues at hand, including the rise in oil and water rate prices, health concerns with several outbreaks, and the issue of the African Swine Fever (ASF).
“The government should not crow about this because it is even slow in addressing the many issues hitting consumers now like the worsening health crises, the African Swine Fever (ASF), killer low palay price for empoverished farmers, oil price hikes and impending water rate increases,” Zarate added. /jpv
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