Arroyo heaps praise on Duterte’s economic managers for lowest inflation rate in 16 months

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Wednesday President Duterte’s economic managers deserve a pat on their shoulders, as inflation rate eased anew in April, down to three-percent from 3.3 percent in March.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Former President and incumbent Pampanga Second District Representative Gloria Arroyo who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Golden Coast Hotel in Boao, Hainan Province, China on April 9, 2018. (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

She attributed the easing of the inflation rate to a 16-month low in April 2019 to the “working” economic managers and the measures implemented by the Duterte government.

“Good. Ah, Congratulations to our economic managers,” Arroyo told reporters when sought for reaction on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) report that inflation further slowed to 3.0 percent in April from 3.3 percent in March.

She made the comment after attending the congressional oversight hearing on the Department of Education’s performance and expenditures for Fiscal Year 2017 to 2019 and on the DepEd’s 2020 budget proposal.

“Di ba marami naman silang mga ginawang mga measures to address the rise in price, well they’re working,” Arroyo said.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia earlier said “the recent inflation reading validates our efforts towards stabilizing inflation so that the country’s buoyant economic growth, along with key reforms, remains unimpeded.”

He noted that the “continued low inflation of rice can be attributed to the stable rice supply in the country, with more imported rice expected to arrive in the country as the Rice Liberalization Act takes effect.”

The Rice Liberalization Act aims to keep the prices of rice low and more affordable, as it lifts the quantitative import restriction on rice.

Persia also warned that ongoing El Niño phenomenon, possible increase in utility rates, and volatility in international oil prices may affect the government’s efforts to ease inflation.

He strongly urged the government to prioritize rolling out the second tranche of its social mitigating measures under the TRAIN(Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act), such as the unconditional cash transfer and Pantawid Pasada, as the 2019 national budget was signed into law.

It was noted that inflation in the National Capital Region slowed for the eighth consecutive month to 3.1 percent in April 2019.

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