June 11, 2019
THE Duterte administration did better than its predecessors in reining in upward price pressures to the country’s inflation rate, the Department of Finance (DoF) claimed on Monday.
In a statement, the Finance department quoted Undersecretary Gil Beltran as saying the current administration took only 11 months to tame elevated inflation rates to below 4 percent — the fastest in almost two decades — unlike previous ones, which took longer.
In his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, Beltran said the rate of the increase in the prices of goods and services rose to 4.3 percent in March 2018 and hovered above 4 percent until January this year.
It fell to 3.8 percent in February and continued its downward trend to 3.3 percent in March, 3.0 percent in April and 3.2 percent in May, well within this year’s inflation target of between 2 and 4 percent, he added.
According to Beltran, also the department’s chief economist, inflation surpassed the 4-percent level four times between 2004 and 2019. The first time, it took then-President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo 31 months to pull it down from 4.1 percent in June 2004 to 3.8 percent in January 2007.
The second — also during Mrs. Arroyo’s term — saw inflation rise to 4.6 percent in January 2008 before dropping to 3.2 percent in June 2009, which meant it took her administration 17 months to push it below 4 percent.
The third took the Aquino administration 13 months to lower the rate from 4.0 percent in January 2011 to 3.0 percent in February 2012.
“In our case, the Duterte administration took 11 months to move it below 4 percent, so we did it faster,” he said.
The Finance department highlighted that to rein in inflation, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Administrative Order 13 last year that removed administrative restrictions on importing agricultural products.
He also directed the Agriculture and Trade departments to implement measures to reduce the gap between the farmgate and retail prices of these products, it added.
The Agriculture and Interior departments, Philippine National Police and the Metropolitan Development Authority were also ordered to “adopt measures to ensure the efficient and seamless delivery” of imported agricultural and fishery products from ports to markets, while the National Food Authority was directed to immediately release existing rice stocks in its warehouses.
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