Marikina City 2nd district Rep. Stella Quimbo has urged the country’s top economic managers to immediately facilitate the distribution of a P1,000 per family "ayuda" or government subsidy amid the high inflation rate.
Quimbo made this appeal to Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) members Tuesday, Feb. 28, during a briefing held by the House Committee on Appropriations.
Quimbo, a senior vice chairperson of the appropriations panel, suggested that the potential P11.9-billion additional collection from value-added tax (VAT) due to the higher prices of goods in January be tapped to help poor Filipino families, particularly with the release of the P1,000 subsidy.
She called the additional VAT collection as a "silver lining" amid the fast inflation, which had caused the prices of basic commodities to go up in the first place.
“With an 11.2 percent food inflation rate that we are currently experiencing, nadagdagan ng 2.58 million ang bilang ng mga mahihirap na Pilipino (an additional 2.58 million Filipinos have been pushed into poverty),” Quimbo said.
She noted that due to the soaring prices, local producers are also taking the brunt of weaker production, which will eventually affect jobs in the country.
“Magre-resulta sa paghina ng produksyon sa mga lokal na pagawaan ang mataas na inflation. Ibig sabihin, mawawalan rin ng mga trabaho (High inflation rate will weaken the production of local factories. This means we will lose jobs)," the economist-solon said.
Recounting Monday's House Committee on Agriculture and Food hearing on the agri-hoarding issue, Quirino highlighted the role of Congress in resolving the country’s economic issues.
“There are more nuanced questions such as: Should Congress insist on the re-convening of the inter-agency unit on economic intelligence to intensify enforcement against agriculture cartels which have been engaged in hoarding and price manipulation? Should Congress grant the Department of Agriculture (DA) or the President additional powers to enforce food price stabilization measures? If so, what are these?" she added.
The DBCC briefing in the lower chamber sought to harmonize efforts of the executive and legislative branches in tempering inflation and in achieving the Medium-term fiscal framework’s (MTFF) poverty reduction targets.