Economic managers of the government suggest a state of calamity declared in areas whipped by powerful Typhoon “Ompong” earlier this month would soften the expected inflationary impact raised by the weather disturbance.
“A declaration of state of calamity can temper inflation,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia told newsmen on the sidelines of the AskNEDA media briefing in Pasig City Friday.
In related developments:
• Damage to infrastructure and agriculture caused by Ompong has been placed at P17.97 billion, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Friday.
The NDRRMC’s 6 am update showed the agriculture sector suffered the most damage at P14.33 billion and P3.63 billion for infrastructure.
Damage had been concentrated in Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), 3 (Central Luzon), 4A (Calabarzon), 5 (Bicol) and the Cordillera Administrative Region, the NDRRMC said.
• The plan to tap a $500-million credit line from the World Bank is meant to increase the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund to boost rehabilitation efforts following Ompong.
The available NDRRMC funds at the moment amount to P1.19 billion out of the total P19.6 billion under the 2018 budget, NEDA Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro said.
Navarro said the government could access the $500-million standby credit line for the Philippines from the World Bank.
Navarro said while it was still difficult to predict the exact impact on inflation of Ompong, what the government could do was to manage expectations.
“Inflation is driven by inflation expectations and declaration of State of Calamity is one measure,” Navarro said.
“Our recommendation to declare a state of calamity is a manifestation of the government’s swift action,” she said.
Among the price control measures to be imposed once the President declares a state of calamity are the imposition of price ceiling on basic necessities; and the monitoring, prevention, and control of overpricing/profiteering and hoarding prime commodities, medicines, and petroleum products.
The Department of Agriculture estimated the damage incurred by the agriculture sector from Ompong has reached P16.76 billion.
The number of families affected by Ompong had reached 388,136 or equivalent to 1,633,746 persons living in 4,414 barangays in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B (Mimaropa), National Capital Region and the CAR.
Some 13,726 families of around 54,116 individuals are in 366 evacuation centers. Families getting help outside evacuation centers are at 18,504, which is equivalent to 74,622 persons.
Some 49,120 houses were damaged—3,861 totally and 45,259 partially—in Regions 1, 2, 3 and the CAR.