Inflation rate in Mindanao’s 6 regions slows down in November

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Dec) – Inflation rates in Mindanao’s six regions had declined in November 2018, a data released on Wednesday by the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

The five-province and two-city Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had remained the highest in Mindanao at 7.7% but it had also noted the biggest drop since September this year when it soared to 9%, the highest in Mindanao and second highest in the country.

Caraga recorded the lowest inflation rate at 5.6%, followed by Davao Region at 6.3%. The inflation rate of Zamboanga Peninsula also went down to 7.2%, and Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen at 6.9%.

Nationwide, the region with the highest inflation rate was Bicol Region (8.9%) while the lowest was Central Luzon (4.4%).

The PSA reported that the country’s inflation rate slowed down to 6% in November 2018 from 6.7% in October, following the slower movement in the indices of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 8%; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, 4.2%; and communication, 0.4%.

It added that education index “continued to post an annual rate of -3.8 percent, while transport index retained its previous month’s annual rate of 8.9 percent.” The annual gain in food index further eased to 7.7% in November 2018.

In a joint statement of the government’s economic managers, they said food prices eased due to the improvement in the supply of key agricultural commodities such as rice, fish and seafood, meat, vegetables, corn, and fruits.

The economic managers attributed the slowdown to the anti-inflationary measures taken by the government to “alleviate the struggles of poor Filipinos, especially now that the holiday season is just around the corner” and a positive development in the government’s commitment to manage inflation.

“This makes us even more determined in curbing inflation and enforcing all measures to guarantee food security,” it added.

It said the government will continue to implement the mitigating measures, including those in Administrative Order 13 issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on September 21, 2018 to remove the non-tariff barriers and streamlining administrative procedures on the importation of agricultural products and they expect rice prices to go down with the Rice Tariffication Bill passed into law by the Senate in November.

“But this measure, which opens the rice market to qualified players, should be coupled with the full operationalization of the National Window System to allow seamless imports processing and to avoid unwarranted delays,” it added.

The economic managers also took note of the importance of investing in farm mechanization and adoption of latest technology in crop management that includes utilization of high-yielding and resilient crops to improve “the productivity of the agriculture sector, which remains vulnerable to changing weather conditions.”

On fisheries, it said the sustainable coastal resource management efforts must be strengthened as global fish production is seen to grow at a slower pace in the next 10 years.

The Department of Agriculture was also encouraged to fast-track the pending release of the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 259 to “allow the importation of frozen fish and fishery aquatic products for wet markets during closed and off-season or during the occurrence of calamities.”

“We are optimistic that inflation will stabilize further in the near term. But we will keep a vigilant eye on upward pressures such as volatility in the global oil market,” it added.

Economic managers also welcomed the price rollback of oil prices due to falling oil prices in the global market prompting the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to order a provisional decrease in the minimum fare for Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJ) from P10 to P9 in the National Capital Region, Region III, and Region IV.

“In line with these developments, the country’s economic team withdrew the previously announced suspension of the second tranche of increase in fuel excise tax starting January 2019,” it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)