Palace: Gov’t exhausting efforts to ease inflation

Malacañang assured the public on Tuesday that the government was keeping a tight watch on the costs of goods and services after state statisticians reported that consumer prices in the Philippines grew at 5.4 percent, the fastest rate in over three years.,The Philippine Statistics Authority said that the country’s inflation quickened to 5.4 percent last month, the fastest growth since the 6.1 percent record in November 2018, with food, non-alcoholic beverage, and fuel costs mainly pushing commodity prices.,Reacting to the news, acting presidential spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar said the country’s economic managers were monitoring the prices of goods and services.,“We are continuously monitoring the prices of goods and commodities,” he said, as he blamed the rise of energy and fuel costs for inflation.,Despite this, he said President Rodrigo Duterte was not inclined to heed the recommendation of some groups to suspend excise tax on fuel products even if it was perceived to bring down commodity prices. Economic managers had said the state coffers stand to lose P105.9 billion if the government won’t collect excise taxes on oil.,The President will let his successor, President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr., decide on the matter, Andanar added.,The latest inflation rate was higher than the 4.9 percent recorded last April. It raised average inflation for 2022 to 4.1 percent, within the two to four percent target band of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the year.,Andanar said among the measures rolled out by the administration to cushion the impact of high prices include granting P33 billion worth of cash aid for the poorest Filipinos and providing fuel subsidies and discount vouchers to thousands of transport drivers and farmers.,He also cited the state’s service contracting program that employs drivers and operations to provide transport services to commuters.,The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board granted a wage increase of P33, Andanar said.,The move raised the new minimum wage rate to P570 and P533 for workers in the non-agriculture and agriculture sectors, respectively.,It was expected to protect around one million minimum wage earners in private establishments from undue low pay.