Herlita Caraan, NSCB Region 12 chief, cited in a report released by their agency last week that the region’s four provinces and five cities only registered an inflation rate of 3.2 percent as of last June.
The inflation rate measures the year-on-year rate of increase in the prices of basic commodities. An inflation of 3.2 percent means that prices of commodities and services in June 2007 increased at a rate of 3.2 percent, on the average, than their prices a year ago.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Cotabato, Koronadal, Kidapawan and Tacurong.
Caraan said Cotabato Province posted the highest inflation rate at 4.2 percent followed by Sultan Kudarat with four percent, Sarangani with 2.9 percent and South Cotabato with 2.6 percent.
She said the cities of General Santos and Cotabato recorded the lowest inflation rates at 2.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
“The two cities (General Santos and Cotabato) mainly serve as distribution centers of commodities to the other areas of the region and this suggests the higher prices of commodities in the surrounding provinces,” Caraan noted.
By commodity group, Caraan cited that the services sector registered the highest inflation rate at four percent followed by the food, beverages and tobacco at 3.8 percent and fuel, light and water at 3.3 percent.
Miscellaneous expenses, which include those spent on household operations, personal care and effects, increased by 3.4 percent, she said.
She said the high inflation rates posted by the services sector and the food, beverages and tobacco were offset by the cost of rentals and housing repairs that only posted a slight increase of 0.9 percent and the prices of clothing apparels and footwear that only went up by 0.8 percent despite the noted increase in demand due to the opening of classes last June.
Based on the NSCB’s price monitoring on some food items, Caraan said the fruits and vegetables registered the highest inflation at 9.3 percent followed by corn at 8.1 percent, dairy products at 5.6 percent, eggs at 5.2 percent, rice at 4.7 percent, fish at 3.9 percent and meat at 2.3 percent.
She said prices of meals eaten outside the house also increased by 1.1 percent.
In terms of purchasing power, which measures the real value of the peso in a given period, Caraan said their monitoring showed that residents of General Santos City were able to buy a little more goods and pay for additional services than the rest of residents of the region.
As of June 2007, she said the value of the peso in General Santos City was estimated at 76 centavos, up by four centavos from the region’s average of 72 centavos.
The value of peso was pegged at 75 centavos in South Cotabato, 72 centavos in Cotabato City, 71 centavos in Cotabato Province and 69 centavos in Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.(Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)