DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Sept)—Ordinary families could hardly feel the effect of decreasing inflation in the Davao Region, a labor group claimed.
Paul John Dizon, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Southern Mindanao Region secretary general, told MindaNews that the national government should have addressed the prices of basic commodities, which remain to be a concern for most families in the country.
He said, for instance, that the decrease in the prices of staple food, including sardines, did not come with the easing of inflation.
Dizon said the government should have prioritized programs and legislations, such as providing support to local farmers, that would bring down the prices of basic commodities.
He said the government could subsidize farm inputs, particularly for the rice farmers, and directly buy from them to avoid monopoly in the hands of a few businessmen.
He also called on Congress to repeal the value added tax (VAT) and expanded VAT to help bring the prices of basic commodities.
Davao Region reported the lowest inflation rate among the six regions in Mindanao as it further eased to 3.9% in August from 4.3% in July, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The region’s inflation was below the national average, which stood at 5.3% in August.
Of the commodity groups, the agency reported that the slowdown was driven by a significant drop in the cost of “housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels” with -2.4% in August from 4.2% in July; education services with 3.9% from 6.8%; and furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance with 6% from 6.1%.
Slight jump was noted in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, increasing to 6% in August from 5.3% in July; clothing and footwear with 5.9% from 5.7%; information and communication with 1.7% from 1.6%; recreation, sport and culture with 7.3% from 7.1%; restaurants and accommodation services with 6.8% from 6.7%; and personal care, miscellaneous goods and services with 6.1% from 5.5%
Other commodity groups such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco sustained its growth at 14.7% and health at 5.7%
Davao was the only region in Mindanao whose inflation rate slowed down while others accelerated.
Zamboanga Peninsula’s inflation rate increased to 4.3% from 3%, Northern Mindanao with 5% from 4%, Soccsksargen with 4.6% from 3.6%, and Caraga with 4.4% from 3.8%.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao sustained its inflation at 5.1%. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)