NEDA: Government to take action on rising prices

Government to address high rice prices

The government is stepping up efforts to address price increases in basic commodities such as rice following a recent survey indicating that Filipinos are dissatisfied with efforts to manage inflation, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“We recognize the significance and urgency of addressing the issues and challenges that have been highlighted by the survey results of OCTA Research Group released (on Feb. 17), particularly on inflation and food security, as well as on job creation and poverty reduction,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

“The Marcos administration is accelerating its efforts to manage price increases of basic commodities such as rice in light of the El Niño phenomenon we are experiencing and the continuing upward price pressure from the global rice market,” he added.

Results of OCTA’s Dec. 10 to 14, 2023 survey showed a record-high 75 percent of respondents dissatisfied with the government’s performance in controlling inflation.

Only six percent said they were satisfied while 19 percent were undecided.

Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority earlier this month showed the headline inflation rate, or rate of increase in average prices of goods and services typically purchased by consumers, eased to 2.8 percent in January, its lowest level in more than three years due mainly to slower food price increases.

Inflation has been on a downtrend, easing from 6.1 percent in September last year to 4.9 percent in October, 4.1 percent in November and 3.9 percent in December.

While food inflation eased to 3.3 percent last month from 5.5 percent in December 2023, rice inflation rose further to 22.6 percent from 19.6 percent in the same period.

Balisacan said the country has made progress in terms of realizing foreign direct investments that will create more and higher-quality jobs, thus increasing the income and purchasing power of Filipinos.

He also cited the country’s 5.6 percent economic growth in 2023, one of the fastest in the region.

“When President Marcos began his term, the Philippine economy was recovering from the record 9.5 percent contraction in 2020. The contraction set us back by about three years, with per capita gross national income returning to its pre-pandemic level by the second half of 2023. We have recovered and have indeed outshone our Asian peers,” he said.

He noted that the labor market continues to show promise, with unemployment rate at a historic low of 3.1 percent in December 2023 while the December 2023 underemployment rate slid to 11.9 percent from 12.6 percent the same month in 2022.

“The Cabinet has taken to heart the President’s directives by ensuring that the necessary policies are in place: we are facilitating massive investments in physical and human capital to create better jobs and improve our economy’s competitiveness while deploying the entire arsenal of policy tools to make food available, accessible, and affordable to the Filipino people,” he added.

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