External pressures, particularly the rising prices of oil in the global market, are pulling inflation to above-target rates, President Rodrigo Duterte said as he lamented the country is not blessed with the precious commodity.
The President issued the statement on the back of a nine-year high 6.4 percent inflation in August, with prices of basic items like food, fuel, gas, electricity and personal transport also contributing to the rise.
“There is one thing that God gave to other people which He did not give to us,” Duterte said in his speech before doctors in Lapu-Lapu City Cebu. “What is that? It’s oil. What’s driving inflation now? Simply it’s the prices of oil.”
But Mr. Duterte said he was not making excuses as he admitted that inflation is hurting the people, pointing out the top culprit is the price of oil, which his administration has no control of.
“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,” he went on to say. Duterte won a landslide victory in the 2016 presidential elections on a campaign platform of eliminating corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.
In one of his previous speeches, Mr. Duterte even pointed to US President Donald Trump’s policy to impose higher tariffs on foreign goods and raising US interest rates that contributed to the rising inflation.
The administration’s economic team is proposing the issuance of an executive order to remove administrative restrictions and non-tariff barriers in the importation of fish, meat, vegetables, rice and sugar.
Data from the National Economic and Development Authority showed vegetables, meat, rice, fish and seafood, contributed 2.4 percentage points for last month’s inflation rate.
In addition, Mr. Duterte’s economic managers put forward several short-term measures to temper inflation, including flooding the domestic public market with NFA (National Food Authority) rice and import and distribute the grains using government logistics.