PH inflation eased to 4.5% in March — PSA

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2021   •   422

MANILA, Philippines — Inflation or rate of increase in the prices of goods and services slightly slowed down in March due to slower price movement of food and non-alcoholic beverages, data released Tuesday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

The PSA said the consumer price index was recorded at 4.5% in March, slightly slower than 4.7% registered in February. However, this is still faster than the 2.5% in March 2020.

March inflation brought the year-to-date inflation at 4.5%, still within the 4.2% to 5% forecast range of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the agency said.

“The slowdown in inflation at the national level was primarily due to the lower annual increment registered in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 5.8 percent in March 2021, from 6.7 percent inflation in February 2021,” the PSA said in a statement.

Core inflation, which excludes selected food and energy items, stood at 3.5%. This was unchanged from the rate recorded in the previous month, but faster than the 3% recorded in March last year.

The PSA also noted deceleration in the annual increases in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco (12.1 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (1.9 percent); communication (0.2 percent); and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (3.1 percent).

“The latest outturn is consistent with expectations that inflation could settle above the high-end of the target in 2021, reflecting the impact of supply-side constraints on domestic prices of key food commodities, such as meat, as well as the continuing uptick in international oil prices,” the BSP said in a statement.

“Nevertheless, inflation is still seen to return to within the target band in 2022 as supply-side influences subside. At the same time, timely and effective implementation of direct measures by the national government could contribute to easing price pressures,” it added.

The central bank also said that a tighter domestic supply of meat products and improved global economic activity could lend further upward pressures on inflation.

However, the ongoing pandemic also continues to pose downside risks to the inflation outlook, as the recent surge in virus infections and challenges over mass vaccination programs continue to temper prospects for domestic demand, it added.

PSA urged to suspend face-to-face registration for nat’l ID system, other surveys

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A solon has called on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to temporarily halt its door-to-door data collection for the national identification system following reports of 400 persons being placed under quarantine after a data enumerator was found positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a letter addressed to PSA National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa, Albay Representative Joey Salceda said face-to-face data collection and other surveys should be suspended to prevent a super-spreader event.

“I appeal strongly to your office to temporarily suspend door-to-door and face-to-face data collection for the national ID system and other surveys until we could reasonably guarantee that enumerators will not be vectors for infection,” Salceda said.

He said some 400 individuals are currently undergoing home quarantine in Polangui, Albay because of an enumerator who tested positive for COVID-19.

“If infection is confirmed, the enumerator would have been a super-spreader,” Salceda said.

“Even if a super-spreader event does not take place, the protocols have forced contacts of the enumerator to quarantine, interrupting their livelihoods,” he added.

The lawmaker also stressed that data enumerators themselves are also “at risk of being close contacts of the infected.”

“If the PSA will insist on face-to-face registration, enumerators should at least be vaccinated,” he said.

Salceda urged the PSA to look for ways to conduct data gathering acting that do not endanger the public.

“While I support the national ID system and completing it as soon as possible to help distribute necessary social programs, we should conduct data gathering activities in ways that do not endanger the lives of our citizens,” he said.

 

Unemployment rate in PH rose to 4.2M in February – PSA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipinos who lost their jobs jumped to 4.2 million in February this year, based on data released by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Tuesday.

In a virtual press briefing, National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dennis Mapa said the unemployment rate in February was recorded at 8.8 percent, which is equivalent to 4.2 million Filipinos aged 15 and above.

Mapa said this is higher than the 8.7 percent or 4 million individuals in January 2021.

The underemployment rate, meanwhile, clocked in at 18.2 percent in the second month of the year. This is higher when compared to 16 percent recorded in the previous month, according to the PSA.

Mapa said the February’s statistics is the first data released under the PSA’s new monthly survey.

“Simula nitong Pebrero 2021, ang buwanang labor force survey ay isasagawa sa pagitan ng quarterly or regular labor force survey upang magkaroon ng high frequency data on labor and employment bilang isa sa mga basehan sa paggawa ng polisiya at plano, lalo na iyong may kinalaman sa COVID-19,” he said.

PSA’s data showed that the unemployment rate rose to 17.6 percent in April 2020 following the first lockdown implemented to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

According to Mapa, the latest enforcement of stringent COVID-19 protocols will likely reflect in the April 2021 survey.

Metro Manila and four nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna have been placed under enhanced community quarantine from March 29 to April 4.

On Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte some areas in the country under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) for the month of April due to the recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

The Philippines on Monday recorded 10,016 new coronavirus infections, the highest since the pandemic began last year.

The latest figure pushed the country’s total active cases to 115,495 and the total cases to 731,894, according to the Department of Health.

Unemployed Filipinos increased to 4-M in January 2021 — PSA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of unemployed Filipinos has reached 4 million in January 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Based on the recent Labor Force Survey, this is higher compared to the 3.8 million unemployed in October 2020 and is equivalent to an 8.7% unemployment rate which is the lowest rate in 15 years.

CALABARZON Region recorded the highest unemployment rate with 13.1% while Bicol Region recorded an 11.3% unemployment rate.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in January 2021 was placed at 60.5% accounting for 45.2 million Filipinos. This is slightly higher compared to the 58.7% recorded in October 2020.

However, PSA chief, Usec. Dennis Mapa said that with the surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and possible lockdowns, labor participation might decrease.

“April 2020 ang labor force participation natin ay nasa 55.7% at sabi ko ito ang pinakamababa. So may impact talaga kung meron tayong lockdown (Our labor force participation in April 2020 was at 55.7% and it was the lowest. So lockdowns really do have an impact),” he said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang still remains optimistic that as the economy slowly opens more Filipinos will be able to go back to their jobs.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the national government is also looking into easing age restrictions in quarantine areas and increasing the capacity of public transportation.

Pagbubukas po talaga ng ekonomiya ang solusyon para magkaroon ng mas maraming trabaho sa ating lipunan (Reopening the economy is the solution for more jobs in the society), he said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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