By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is not sleeping on the job amid intensified efforts to curb the country’s rising inflation rate, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the assurance to the public after the country’s inflation accelerated to a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in September.
The September inflation rate was higher than the 6.4 percent recorded in August.
In a bid to tame the impact of inflation on consumers, Roque said the government has streamlined procedures on the importation of agricultural products to boost supply and lower prices in the market.
“Pagdating po sa paglobo ng inflation, alam naman po natin na ang pinagsisimulan niyan ay iyong pagtaas po ng presyo ng krudo – tumaas na naman po ang presyo ng krudo [When it comes to inflation, we know that its main cause is the increases in oil prices. Fuel prices have increased again],” Roque said in a radio interview.
“Pero pagdating naman po sa mga ibang pang bilihin, eh ginagawa naman po natin ang kaya nating gawin; nag-aangkat na po tayo ng pagkain para po mapababa ang presyo at asahan ninyo po na hindi tayo matutulog sa pansitan [But when it comes to other consumer goods, we are doing what we can. We have imported more food products to bring down the prices. Rest assured that we are not sleeping on the job],” he said.
Aside from the importation of agricultural products, Roque said the government has given away cash and fuel subsidies to specific sectors affected by the high consumer prices.
He noted that many poor families are benefiting from the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) component of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Under the UCT scheme, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has released P2,400 (P200 per month) in 2018 to millions of poor beneficiaries. The subsidy will be raised to P3,600 (P300 per month) in 2019 and 2020.
Roque said transport authorities have also distributed fuel vouchers worth P5,000 to public utility jeepney units to mitigate the impact of high oil prices.
A provision in the TRAIN also states the next fuel tax rate increase would be suspended if the three-month average of Dubai crude hits $80 per barrel, according to Roque.