Price spike temporary, consumers assured
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday gave assurance to the public that it was making “immediate interventions” to address the quickening of the inflation rate, which indicates the pace of the rise in prices over a certain period.
“We are intensifying efforts to ease inflation through immediate interventions, such as augmenting the supply of meat,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement, adding that the 4.7-percent inflation rate for February was only a temporary tick.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno in an online briefing on March 4 said inflation was expected to stay above the target band in the first half of the year but “we are confident that it will taper off in the second half of the year.”
The elevated inflation rate remains driven by supply-side factors “and so we thought [that] it does not require monetary response at the moment,” said Diokno, who heads the Monetary Board.
Ramon Clarete, dean of the University of the Philippines School of Economics, agreed and said government intervention, like price caps and forcing supplies from the Visayas and Mindanao to Manila would cause shortages elsewhere.
The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, Federation of Free Farmers, and Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food said in separate statements that government meddling in the movement of prices would only benefit politicians who want to turn prices into a political issue and importers who would profit from lowered tariffs at the expense of local farmers.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said the higher inflation justified a new round of cash aid to low-income households.
—WITH REPORTS FROM KARL R. OCAMPO AND JULIE M. AURELIO
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