Focus on inflation, Pimentel tells economic managers
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority leader Aquilino Pimentel III called on the country’s economic managers to hasten solutions to the rising inflation in the country, lamenting the “lack of concrete plans and swift action” to address the problem.
“Instead of focusing on the Maharlika Investment Fund, all hands should be on deck to address the serious problem of inflation,” Pimentel said in a statement on Wednesday after inflation rate surged to 8.7 percent in January.
“Unfortunately, I have not seen any concrete plan or a roadmap to address the problem,” he said.
High costs of food, housing rentals, electricity and water further pushed the country’s inflation rate to an all-time high 8.7 percent since the 9.1 percent recorded in November 2008.
Pimentel, however, noted that “the first symptoms of worsening inflation” could already be seen with the sugar crisis in the second half of 2022 followed by the onion crisis in the last quarter.
“These should have behooved our economic managers including the agriculture sector to look closely at agricultural production and food supply augmentation,” he said.
According to him, food inflation would not be as high as 11.2 percent “if only the government has put measures in place to monitor and strengthen agricultural production and empower small farmers and food producers.”
“We have known for a long time that there is a gap between our farmers and the market, and the middlemen that usually connect the two earn so much, leaving our farmers shortchanged, but what exactly are the concrete steps we are doing to change this?”
“For the bottom 30 percent income households, the inflation rate equates to 9.7 percent. It is disheartening that the poorest in our nation suffer the hardest as prices of essential commodities continue to rise and our government seems to just watch prices fluctuate,” Pimentel said.
He also noted that minimum wage earners only received an additional P33 in June 2022.
“With the increasing inflation, the essential needs that a 570-peso salary for non-agriculture workers and a 533-peso salary for manufacturing, agriculture and service industries can purchase get slimmer and slimmer,” the senator said.
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