PH Inflation further eases to 0.8% in October

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2019   •   351

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s headline inflation further eased to 0.8 percent in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.

The PSA said the latest inflation figure is lower than the 0.9 percent recorded in September, and a sharp slide compared to the 6.7 percent in October 2018.

October’s inflation rate is the slowest in more than three years, bringing the year-to-date inflation to 2.6 percent.

Inflation means the rate of increase in prices of goods and services.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the downtrend in the latest inflation was primarily due to the annual drop in the index of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as transportation costs.

Slower increases in rates of water, housing, gas, electricity, and other fuels were also noted, as well as in household equipment and routine maintenance, and health and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.

Mapa added that rice prices also maintained its year-on-year decline, with a 9.7 percent drop for the six-straight month, while transport expenses also settled lower compared to last year.

Data from the PSA also showed that inflation was higher in Metro Manila where prices of basic commodities increased by 1.3 percent. Prices in regions, meanwhile, moved slower in an average of 0.7 percent.

Malacañang welcomed the slower inflation rate but assured it will continue to monitor the prices of basic commodities especially during the holiday season.

“As inflation continues to drop, the current government will continue to not let its guard down in monitoring the prices of basic commodities, especially now that we are in the ber months, approaching Christmas season,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also welcomed the latest inflation rate, attributing it to the government’s drive and focus in its anti-inflationary efforts this year.

“We hope to further keep inflation manageable and within the government’s target,” NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro said in a separate statement.

She, however, warned that the country must be in the lookout for upside risks such as cases of African Swine Fever (ASF), which have been observed so far in Rizal, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Cavite, and Quezon City.

“The livestock industry in the said ASF-stricken areas, which accounts for 21.7 percent of the country’s total hog production last year, remains at high risk. The government and private companies must collaborate to manage, contain, and control the spread of the disease,” Navarro said.

She also urged meat processing plants to enforce more stringent bio-security measures, and expand and place quarantine checkpoints and disinfection facilities in key gateways such as seaports, airports, and expressways.

PSA: Nat’l ID mass registration to continue despite lack of funds

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 12, 2019

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the mass registration for the national ID system will continue despite the lack of funds.

According to the PSA, they might not reach the target number of Filipinos that will be registered by next year due to limited funds.

The PSA said the P5.7 billion budget is needed by next year.

Meanwhile, they are still confirming if the allocated budget for the Philippine Identification System (Philsys) is only around P3 billion in the 2020 proposed national budget.

“Kasi pinakita na doon sa mga senators ang magiging effect kapag ito lang ang budget versus kapag binigay ng buo ang budget na hinihingi ng Philsys. So kapag medyo maliit, may delay sa registration (We already showed the senators the possible effect between the limited budget versus the budget requested by Philsys. So if the budget is limited, there will be a delay in the registration) which we do not want to happen,” according to Atty. Lourdines dela Cruz, deputy national statistician of the Philsys Registry Office.

Nevertheless, the PSA assured that they will continue with the program where they target to register over 100 million Filipinos by mid-2020.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

NEDA sees poverty incidence to reduce further by 2022

Marje Pelayo   •   December 12, 2019

Filipinos walk past shanties at a slum area in Manila, Philippines, 27 February 2019 (issued 13 June 2019). The metropolitan area of Manila has the largest slum area in the world, home to some four million people, a third of the inhabitants of the city, according to studies conducted by humanitarian organizations. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration is confident that more Filipinos will be able to recover from poverty before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

This, despite the recent report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on the slowdown of poverty incidence in the country in 2018.

Based on the report, almost 6 million Filipinos already have improved their living from 2015 to 2018.

This translates to a 6.7% drop in poverty incidence in the country from 23.3% in 2015 to 16.6% in 2018.

Poverty incidence is the proportion of the poorest population which receives income lower than what they need to support their basic needs such as food, healthcare, and education among others.

According to the government’s estimate, a family of five members should at least earn P10,700 a month to support their food and non-food requirements.

Socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia expressed confidence that before 2022, poverty incidence in the country will further decrease.

“If you let poverty incidence, which is by 16.6% now, drop by 2.23 percent a year, then we will hit I think something like 11 or even less than that,” Pernia said.

The administration believes that job generation and policy reforms such as institutionalizing the conditional cash transfer, unconditional cash transfer, and an intensified family planning program, helped reduced poverty incidence in the country. — MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

NEDA Board OKs Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has given a green light for the construction of the Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Friday.

The NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, approved the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the project in a meeting held last November 29.

The Board also confirmed in the meeting the earlier approvals for the project given by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) on July 10 and September 27.

The DOTr said the Tagum-Davao-Digos segment is the first phase of the proposed 830-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project Loop.

It aims to establish a 74-kilometer at-grade and 26-kilometer elevated (viaduct) commuter railway from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur.

Phase 1 will have eight stations located in Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade expressed gratitude for the project’s approval, saying the move brought the Mindanao Railway Project closer to realization.

“This builds on the dream of President Rodrigo Duterte to generate development in Mindanao through an efficient rail system that will not only move people throughout the island of Mindanao but will also generate needed economic growth,” Tugade was quoted as saying in a statement.

The project’s first segment is designed to accommodate around 130,000 passengers per day in its first year of full operations.

Once fully operational, travel time between Tagum City to Digos City will be reduced from currently 3.5 hours to just 1.3 hours.

Partial operations are targeted by the second quarter of 2022 for the Tagum-Davao line, while full operations for the Tagum-Davao-Digos line will be in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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