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After another inflation spike, Bayan hopes President act to bring down prices

/ 09:28 PM August 05, 2022
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should no longer deny the high inflation rates in the country and instead work to bring down prices of goods and commodities, activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) hoped on Friday.

Renato Reyes Jr. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should no longer deny the high inflation rates in the country and instead work to bring down prices of goods and commodities, activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) hoped on Friday.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes in a statement again called for the suspension of taxes on oil products so that fuel prices would go down, and create a ripple effect on the prices of other goods and alleviate some of the burdens on the people.

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Reyes said this after the Philippine Statistics Authority announced earlier that the headline inflation rate for July jumped to 6.4 percent — higher than the 6.1 percent recorded in June, which was already a three-year high.

“Inflation is now 6.4% for July 2022. We hope the President won’t deny the figures this time and instead move to bring down prices,” Reyes said.

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“We reiterate our call to suspend taxes on oil products so that fuel prices will go down and the entire economy will benefit. The government has reaped windfall revenues from the misery of our people. It is time for government to make a ‘sacrifice’ and suspend the collection of excise tax or VAT on oil products,” he added.

READ: July inflation heats up further to 6.4% 

Reyes was referring to the time when Marcos expressed disbelief at June’s inflation figures during a press briefing after a cabinet meeting last July.  While Marcos admitted that inflation is a problem in many countries across the world, he thinks that the inflation figures of the country are not that high.

READ: Bongbong Marcos ‘disagrees’ with PSA report of 6.1 inflation rate in June 

Eventually, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that Marcos’ disbelief was misunderstood because the President thought that the 6.1 percent was the average of January 2022 to June 2022 — which was way off the government’s target.

Diokno explained that the average for the year is at just 4.4 percent, which is still within the targets.

READ: Diokno: Bongbong Marcos’ disbelief’ at 6.1% June inflation rate ‘misunderstood’

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According to Reyes, they are also calling to raise workers’ wages so they can still accommodate the higher prices of food.  He also noted that the Marcos administration should refrain from imposing more taxes on the people — which would further aggravate the situation.

“We reiterate our call to raise wages to help workers cope with rising food prices. We oppose any further taxes on the people, especially tax on digital services. We oppose any new round of power rate hikes which will also burden the poor. We reiterate our call for production subsidies for farmers and fisherfolk in light of the economic crisis,” he said.

“The people demand economic relief. What should be revised are the flawed economic policies of the government, and not the history of our people,” he added.

This is not the first time Bayan called for the suspension of taxes, particularly value-added tax (VAT) and excise taxes, including those brought by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Last June 21, Bayan said that collecting VAT despite rising fuel products is ‘oppressive’ as no substantial social aid is being given.  During that time, several pump stations were selling diesel fuel at over P90 per liter, and gasoline at around P80 to P90 per liter depending on the variant.

While prices have gone down steadily, pump prices for gasoline fuel still range from P72 to P80 per liter, while diesel is still at P78 to P85 per liter.

READ: Group pushes suspension of fuel tax anew amid high inflation in June 

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TAGS: Bayan, Bongbong Marcos, Commodities, Inflation, Prices, Renato Reyes
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