‘Ayuda’ for sectors affected by high prices of goods must be given quickly — Robredo | Inquirer News
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‘Ayuda’ for sectors affected by high prices of goods must be given quickly — Robredo

/ 08:30 PM March 10, 2022
Robredo FOI urgent bill ayuda aid high prices

Vice President Leni Robredo  (Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP)

MANILA, Philippines — The provision of social aid for sectors who are most affected by the rising prices of goods, like food and oil products, must be given swiftly to ensure that families would not starve, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Thursday.

During an ambush interview in Alcantara town in Romblon, Robredo said that since the provision of assistance is an “executive action,” or one which might not need any legislation passed by Congress, it should be given immediately, especially as oil-dependent industries are left with no choice but to raise prices of goods.

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“‘Yong mga puwede na kasing gawin agad, ‘yung ayuda puwede na ‘yung gawing agad kasi executive action naman ‘yun. Puwede nang bigyan ng ayuda ‘yung pinakaapektado ng pagtaas ng bilihin, lalo na ‘yung gasolina, ‘yung kerosene, ‘yung diesel,” Robredo said.

“Gawin na kaagad na hindi– para siguraduhin na na hindi na magugutom. Kasi pag dine-delay natin ‘yung tulong mas mahirap kasi talagang magdadaan na sila sa nap– magdadaan na sila sa sobrang challenging na times,” she added.

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But apart from merely saying that aid would be given, Robredo said that the government should now decide on what kind of assistance will be provided — as it may come by way of tax cuts or cash aid.

“Maliban doon sa pagbigay ng ayuda kailangan talagang desisyonan na. Ano bang klaseng subsidy ‘yung ibibigay ng pamahalaan maliban sa ayuda? Kung isu-suspend ba ‘yung excise tax o meron pa bang ibang paraan para hindi ganoon maramdaman ‘yung palo ng pagtaas ng presyo,” she said.

“Halimbawa, ‘yung mga farmers natin; ano ba ‘yung reklamo nila? ‘Yung reklamo ng farmers natin ang pagtaas ng presyo ng inputs lalo ‘yung fertilizers, grabe na halos ano na pasalamat na nga sila pag nag-breakeven pa sila. Matagal na itong reklamo halos dalawang taon na na hindi naaaksyonan ‘yung pagtaas ng presyo ng fertilizer,” she added.

Such questions should be answered quickly as the Vice President fears that inflation would worsen even more in the coming weeks.

“So parang bawat araw na hindi natin ito inaaksyonan, dagdag din ito sa araw na pahirap sa kanila. Halimbawa ‘yung mga fisherfolk natin, tinatamaan talaga sila ng pagtaas ng langis. Tinatamaan din sila lalo na pag tinamaan sila ng bagyo, pag masama ‘yung panahon. Ano ‘yung programa natin para sa kanila?” she asked.

“So, kailangan i-institutionalize ‘yung mga mekanismo kasi kung reactive lang tayo nang reactive, marami tayong hindi matutulungan at lalo na pag nagre-react tayo ng huli,” she added.

Oil prices have continued to increase in recent weeks, with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi acknowledging the possibility that fuel prices may reach P100 per liter depending on the world market.

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Part of the price increase came after global tensions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February.

As the price of fuel rises, experts believe that goods and other industries that rely on fuel such as electricity and agriculture would be seeing price increases as well.

READ: No oil supply problem in PH, but rising prices prompt call for deregulation review

In a long-term view, Robredo, who is an economics graduate from the University of the Philippines, said that the government must also check whether the minimum wage is enough to ensure that a family survives through turbulent times.

“Halimbawa, ‘yung pag-asses kung ‘yung minimum wage ba natin ngayon enough siya para ma-cushion ‘yung blow ng inflation? […] Kailangan nang i-assess. Marami ‘yung humihingi ng pagtaas ng minimum wage pero kailangan na siyang upuan,” she said.

“Binabasa ko ‘yung mga opinyon ng mga economists na ang sinasabi nila ‘yung minimum wage ngayon actually, ‘yung actual value niya mas mababa sa kung ano talaga ‘yung wages ngayon dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin.  So, ito kasi mahabang proseso ito kasi kailangan pakinggan ‘yung– hindi lang ‘yung saloobin ng mga sumasahod pero ‘yung saloobin din ng mga employers. Kailangan isaalang-alang sa lahat– ‘yung lahat kasi balancing act naman ito,” she added.

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TAGS: #2022candidates, 2022 national elections, cash assistance, high oil prices, Inflation, Leni Robredo, Office of the Vice President, Oil price hike, OVP, Philippine news updates, Russia, social aid, tax cuts, Ukraine
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