PH inflation further eases to 3.3% in March

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2019   •   1996

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s inflation further eased in March as increases in prices of food and beverages slowed for the fifth month in a row, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday (April 5).

Latest PSA data showed that the inflation rate in March decelerated to 3.3 percent, much slower than 3.8 percent recorded in February and the lowest since January 2018 at 3.4 percent.

The PSA said the slower pace of increases in goods and services was driven by lower costs of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Downtrend in price increases in alcoholic beverages, tobacco; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; furnishing, household equipment, and house routine maintenance; health, communication; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services were also noted by the PSA.

In a statement, Malacañang welcomed the slower inflation, promising that the slide would continue this year.

“We are confident that this slide would continue further for the rest of the year, as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s signing of Republic Act 11203 (Rice Tariffication Law) last February is expected to further ease inflation,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“Our economic managers expect rice prices to go down and even cut inflation by 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent point this year,” he added.

Panelo also assured that the government will continue to look for ways to counter possible increase in prices of basic goods due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon in the country.

“The Government, however, would not be complacent and has been vigilant in keeping a close watch on the prices of goods and commodities with the onslaught of El Nino, which may hamper food production,” he said.

The government also calls on the public to preserve water supply, not only in agriculture but also in daily consumption, “to increase our resiliency against this extreme weather phenomenon.”

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also echoed Malacañang’s call.

“The latest inflation outturn is consistent with the BSP’s expectations that inflation will continue to settle within the target range for 2019 and 2020. However, the possibility of a stronger and prolonged El Niño episode together with the continued rise in global crude oil prices provide upside price pressures over the near term,” the BSP said in a statement.

The PH central bank also warned that a potential slowdown in economic activity amid the delayed passage of budget could pose some risks to inflation. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

PH posted steady inflation rate at 4.5% in April — PSA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s headline inflation stayed at 4.5 percent in April due to slower movements in the prices of commodities, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Wednesday.

PSA chief and national statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said last month’s figure is the same annual growth rate recorded in March but quicker than 2.2 percent registered in April 2020.

Mapa said the figure brought the average inflation at the national level from January to April 2021 to 4.5 percent, still within the forecast range of 4.2 to 5.0 percent of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The latest outturn is consistent with expectations that inflation would remain elevated this year, owing to supply-side pressures, before settling close to the midpoint of the target range in 2022,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.

The PSA said that varied annual growth rates in the indices of the commodity groups were observed in April 2021.

Annual increases were higher in the indices of the following commodity groups in April 2021:
• Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels with 1.5 percent
• Furnishing, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house with 2.1 percent
• Health with 3.1 percent
• Transport with 17.9 percent
• Communication, 0.3 percent
• Restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, 3.4 percent

On the other hand, inflation slowed down in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 4.8 percent; and alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 12.0 percent, the PSA said.

The rest of the commodity groups retained their respective previous month’s annual growth rates, it added.

The PSA also said that annual rates went down in the indices of rice and vegetables at -0.3 percent and -2.6 percent, respectively.

Moreover, annual hikes slowed down in the indices of other cereals, flour, cereal preparation, bread, pasta and other bakery products at 1.8 percent; milk, cheese, and egg, 1.4 percent; fruits, 0.3 percent; and food products not elsewhere classified, 0.5 percent.

However, annual rates picked up further in the indices of corn at 3.1 percent; meat, 22.1 percent; and fish, 6.0 percent.

The indices of oils and fats; and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate, and confectionery moved at their corresponding previous month’s annual growth rates of 3.9 percent and 0.3 percent, the PSA added.

Emergence of community pantries exemplifies bayanihan spirit amid crisis — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The emergence of community pantries “exemplifies the Filipino bayanihan spirit” and is not a condemnation of the government during this challenging time of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.

“It shows the best of the Filipino. It is part of our psyche to help one another. I don’t see it as a condemnation of the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“It shows the best of us during the worst of times,” he added.

Roque made the statement after some lawmakers remarked that the establishment of community pantries and other similar activities offering aid to those in need is brought about by the government’s failure to provide enough assistance to families heavily affected by the pandemic.

Roque, however, insisted that the popping up of community pantries in various areas only shows the Filipinos’ unity and initiative to help those in need.

“This shows na bayanihan ang umiiral, hindi bangayan,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Roque stressed that the government needs the support and cooperation of everyone to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

He also assured that the government is working to provide for the needs of the most affected families.

“The social amelioration programs and services of the national government serve as subsidy for the provision of basic necessities and tool for the recovery and rehabilitation of the most affected families and individuals,” he said.

“The medium and long-term solution remains safeguarding the physical safety of our people while ensuring the economic health of the nation. Ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay,” he added.

He also reminded the public to continue observing health protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Palace assures aid to families affected by ‘Bising’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that government agencies are ready for the onslaught of Typhoon Bising as it continues to move over the Philippine sea east of Catanduanes.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace is monitoring updates on the typhoon, adding that the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has conducted pre-disaster risk assessments at the national level.

The OCD has also issued guidance and advisories for the early preparation of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (RDRRMC) and the local government units since April 14, he added.

Roque likewise assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has standby funds amounting to P556,438,277.65 in its central office and field offices, as well as stockpiles consisting of 370,058 Family Food Packs amounting to P188,605,445.38, as of April 17, 2021.

“The Department of Health has assured that they have dedicated teams looking into the impact of any disaster, especially in monitoring the evacuation centers in relation to COVID-19 protocol,” he said in a statement.

“They have likewise prepositioned assorted medicines/COVID supplies to regional offices,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has prepositioned all response assistance and instructed all unified commands to assist RDRRMCs in pre-emptive evacuation and other relevant operations.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), for its part, activated nine regions, reiterating the use of OPLAN LISTO and LGU assistance to response operations.

Citing a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Roque said that pre-emptive evacuation has been carried out in Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Northern and Eastern Samar.

“Our concern is the safety of everyone. We, therefore, ask our people to remain alert and vigilant, cooperate with authorities and continue to observe minimum public health standards for protection against COVID-19,” the Palace official said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Sunday reported that Typhoon Bising has slightly weakened as it continues to move over the Philippine Sea.

Bising is expected to bring heavy rains over the Bicol region and Northern Samar, which may trigger flooding and landslides especially in areas identified as highly susceptible to these hazards.

PAGASA said Bising will “continue moving slowly in the next 6 to 12 hours as it begins to turn generally northward over the Philippine Sea east of Catanduanes.”

“Afterwards, the typhoon will continue moving northward while gradually accelerating until Wednesday evening before turning northeastward and east-northeastward away from the landmass of Luzon,” it added.

“The recent weakening of “BISING” after reaching its peak intensity was caused by a recently completed eyewall replacement cycle. The typhoon is forecast to maintain its current intensity in the next 24 to 48 hours before gradually weakening throughout the remainder of the forecast period,” PAGASA said.

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