Price spiral blamed on economic managers

from September 7, 2018 01:00 am to September 7, 2018 01:00 am


Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday blamed the country’s economic managers for the nine-year-high in the rate of inflation, saying this could compel the Senate to reverse fuel excise taxes that were imposed in January under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.

“The recent inflation figures show that our economic managers are obviously not on top of this issue. We cannot wait for prices to get further out of control. The economic managers do not seem to be serious in dealing with the problem,” Villanueva said.

“So now, we are considering the option of joining our colleagues in reversing the fuel excise tax to at least temper this runaway price surge,” he said.

Villanueva also called for the liberalization of rice imports and a lowering of the value-added tax to deal with rising prices.

The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier this week said August inflation rose to 6.4 percent, a nine-year high, mainly due to high food and energy prices.

Senator Nancy Binay called on the Palace to implement measures to counter the increasing prices of basic commodities.

Binay also said that the high inflation rate will have a profound impact on the long-term anti-poverty programs if government does not intervene.

“We have to strengthen our initiatives to help ease the burden of inflation including the provision of financial assistance to poor families and discounts to the transport sector,” she said.

She cited the need to maximize government-to-government arrangements to source cheap petroleum products, particularly diesel, to mitigate the impact of the high cost of goods.

Vice President Leni Robredo said the August inflation rate was a confirmation that the price of basic commodities such as rice would continue to rise without effective government intervention, making it harder for families to make ends meet on a daily basis.

“Our previous call to this administration to do what needs to be done to ease the difficulties that ordinary Filipinos have to face has become even more urgent.

Hunger and poverty—exacerbated by rising prices—are our country’s most serious concerns today; our government should address these problems at the soonest possible time,” she said.She also asked that the government stop dismissing inflation as a sign of a growing economy.

“Economic growth is meaningless if it does not redound to the uplifting of the lives of the poorest segment of our society,” she said.