The Palace on Friday said it will remain vigilant in monitoring the prices of goods and services even as the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the rate of inflation slowed to 5.1 percent
in December 2018.
The PSA said the slowdown, the second in as many months after hitting a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in September, was due to cheaper prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, and fuel.
READ: December inflation rate dropped to 5.1% — PSA
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo attributed the drop in inflation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s moves
to bring prices down—particularly steps to streamline the importation of rice and other agricultural products.
The December inflation was slightly lower than the projected range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas of 5.2 percent to 6 percent
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said the slowdown in inflation was “welcome relief for the public after months of increasing prices,” but said the government must not let down its guard against unscrupulous business practices of overpricing for food, fuel, and other basic commodities.
Senator JV Ejercito also welcomed the lower inflation rate and expressed hope that the imposition of higher excise taxes on petroleum products would be suspended.
Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile also called for calibration of the government’s taxes on energy to soften the impact of inflation.
“Once you impose taxation on a commodity, especially gasoline and natural gas, it goes into the price of power that is used for production,” Enrile said.
“It goes into the cost of transportation. It goes into the cost of so many other things, and that will pile up to bring up the price burden on the people,” he added.
Meanwhile, a congressman on Friday called on the administration to sustain the gains made against inflation by swiftly implementing the Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act, controlling rents for housing for the poor and the middle class, and providing more safety nets.
1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Michael Romero also urged the administration to build up the country’s fuel reserves now while world fuel prices are low. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz