By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has assured the public that the surge in inflation rate recorded in December 2019 should not be a “cause for alarm,” underscoring that last month’s inflation number was still within the government target.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo maintained that the high inflation remained “a thing of the past,” adding that the government economic team will closely watch over the prices of consumer goods amid the “emerging global threats.”
“The uptick in inflation rate in December 2019 to 2.5 percent from November 2019’s 1.3 percent should not be a cause for alarm. It remains well within our target range of 2 to 4 percent,” Panelo said in a statement.
“We consider high inflation, which peaked at 6.7 percent in 2018, as a thing of the past,” he added.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced Tuesday that prices of consumer goods increased faster last December reportedly due to higher food and transportation costs. Bank authorities reportedly expect commodity prices to increase by 2.9 percent this year.
“Per the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the acceleration of inflation to 2.5 percent was mainly driven by an uptick in the prices of both food and non-food items due to the impact of typhoons and rising oil prices observed during the month of December,” Panelo said.
“Our economic managers continue to keep a tight watch over inflation, amid emerging global threats,” he added.
Panelo was apparently alluding to the fresh tension between the United States and Iran that some analysts claimed might push world oil prices higher.
President Duterte earlier mobilized a group of Cabinet members to craft the evacuation plan for Filipinos in Middle East in the event the US-Iran tension escalate into a full-blown military warfare.
The President has expressed concern about the imminent danger facing Filipinos and wanted to ensure their safety and protection amid the rising conflict between the US and Iran.