Oil culprit behind inflation -- Duterte

September 23, 2018
Rodrigo R. Duterte

OIL prices are to blame for the quickening inflation, President Rodrigo Duterte said as he lamented that the Philippines was not blessed with the precious resource.

Rodrigo R. Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte

Inflation reached a nine-year high of 6.4 percent in August, with food items (rice, fish, vegetables, meat), and electricity, gas and fuels, and personal transport as main contributors.

“There is one thing that God gave to other people which He did not give to us. What is that? It’s oil. What’s driving inflation now? Simply it’s the prices of oil,” he said in a speech before doctors in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

“It’s not an excuse. I admit there is an inflation. But the number one culprit is price of oil.”

He also said law and order are necessary for economic progress.

“For as long as we do not have law and order and for as long as there is corruption in government, this country will never rise,” said the President, who was elected in 2016 on a campaign platform of ridding the country of illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

Duterte had previously blamed US President Donald Trump’s imposition of higher tariffs on foreign goods and US interest rate hike for the Philippines’ soaring inflation.

To tame inflation, Duterte’s economic team urged him to issue an executive order removing administrative constraints and non-tariff barriers on imported rice, fish, vegetables, sugar, and meat.

Fish and seafood, rice and meat, and vegetables accounted for 2.4 percentage points of the 6.4 percent inflation rate last month, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.

The economic team also crafted short-term measures to temper inflation, including making rice available in the market by immediately releasing stocks from National Food Authority warehouses, as well as importation and harvest distribution.

Rice transfers from ports to warehouses and retail outlets, and the speedy passage of the rice tariffication bill in Congress are also part of the anti-inflationary measures.