The Duterte government is the fastest to act on reining in the inflation rate, taking only 11 months to tame the elevated consumer prices to below 4 percent, the Department of Finance said Monday.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Betran said it was the fastest in almost two decades, compared to previous government efforts to check upward price pressures when the rate breached the 4-percent mark.
Inflation rate rose to 4.3 percent in March last year and hovered above the 4-percent level until January this year. It dropped after 11 months to 3.8 percent in February and continued its downward trend in March at 3.3 percent, 3.0 percent in April 2019 and 3.2 percent in May, well within this year’s inflation target of between 2 percent and 4 percent.
Beltran said in his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DoF Executive Committee meeting that the first the four episodes of inflation pushing past the 4 percent level from 2004 to 2019 took former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo 31 months to pull it down from 4.1 percent in June 2004 to 3.8 percent in January 2007.
Over the 2008-2009 period—still on the Arroyo watch—the inflation rate rose to 4.6 percent in January 2008 and dropped to 3.2 percent in June 2009, which meant it took her administration 17 months to pull it down to the below-4 percent mark, Beltran said.
The third episode in 2011 took the Aquino administration 13 months to bring it down to below 4 percent, Beltran said, from 4.0 percent in January 2011 to 3.0 percent in February 2012.
“In our case, the Duterte administration took 11 months to move it below 4 percent, so we did it faster,” Beltran said. Inflation fell to 3.0 percent in April 2019 after rising to 4.3 percent in March 2018.
The economic managers said the law mandating the shift from quantitative restrictions to tariffs on rice imports, which took effect in March, would further pull down inflation.