MALACAÑANG reiterated its assurance to the public that the government is addressing the rising prices of basic commodities after the country’s inflation rate surged to a nine-year high in September.
“Alam namin na ramdam ng ating mga kababayan ang pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin kaya naman po gumawa na ng mga hakbang ang pamahalaan para matugunan ito,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
This developed after the inflation rate further accelerated to 6.7 percent last month from 6.4 percent in August.
This is the fastest in over nine years since February 2009 when it surged to 7.2 percent.
“President Duterte signed Administrative Order (AO) No. 13 last month to streamline procedures on the importation of agricultural products, including rice,” Roque said.
“This will lower the price of basic food products for Filipino consumers since certain administrative requirements unduly add to the cost of importation and limit food supply,” he said.
Alongside AO No. 13, the President also signed Memorandum Order Nos. 26, 27, and 28.
“All of which are measures to stabilize prices of basic agricultural commodities at reasonable levels, maintain their sufficient supply in the domestic market, and provide effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering, and cartels with respect to the supply, distribution, marketing, and pricing of said goods,” Roque said.
“Umaasa kami na ang mga hakbang na ito ay makakatulong sa pagbaba ng presyo ng bilihin sa pamilihan,” the president’s spokesman said. Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was assuming responsibility for rising inflation, which hit 6.7 percent in September, and his spokesperson said the administration was doing everything to deal with increasing prices of commodities.
As food remained expensive, inflation rose last month to a nine-year high, the government reported on Friday.
The rate of increase in prices of basic commodities last month was the fastest since the headline inflation rate of 7.2 percent posted in February 2009, according to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.
A day before the PSA announced the new inflation figures, President Duterte already blamed rising inflation on the hikes in the price of imported oil.
“There’s nothing else I can say. But I assume responsibility for the rising prices because I am here. I am the worker assigned here to answer for all those things,” he told members of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association in Malacañang on Thursday night.
For his part, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said economic managers of the Duterte administration believe that inflation has peaked in the third quarter of the year and is on its way down.
“That’s our position, that it has peaked this quarter and we expect the inflation rate in the fourth quarter to be much less at 6.3. Inflation could be down to the normal level next year,” Diokno said.