Consumer prices further rose at a faster pace in February as prices of food and beverage as well as “sin” products continued to increase partly as a result of the first tax reform package.
In a report Tuesday, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that using 2012 as the new base year, the headline inflation rate jumped 3.9 percent last month, the fastest rate of increase in prices of basic goods since August 2014’s 4.2 percent.
Using the old consumer price index (CPI) series based on 2006 prices, inflation hit 4.5 percent, also an over three-year high.
“The uptrend resulted from the faster annual gain recorded in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index at 4.8 percent and the double-digit annual increment in alcoholic beverages and tobacco index at 16.9 percent,” the PSA explained.
Under Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Act, the unitary excise tax slapped on cigarettes rose to P32.50 per pack effective Jan. 1 from P30 a pack last year.
The TRAIN Law also mandates further increases in the cigarette excise tax rates to P35 per pack from July 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2019; P37.50 a pack from Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021; and P40 from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2023.
Signed by President Duterte in December, the TRAIN Law starting Jan. 1 this year jacked up or slapped new excise taxes on oil, cigarettes, sugary drinks and vehicles, among other goods, to compensate for the restructured personal income tax regime that raised the tax-exempt cap to an annual salary of P250,000.
The PSA said that prices in four other commodity groups also increased in February: clothing and footwear, up 2 percent year-on-year; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, up 2.5 percent; transport, up 5.8 percent; as well as restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, up 2.5 percent.
“Lower annual hikes were, however, noticed in the indices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 2.6 percent; communication, 0.2 percent; and recreation and culture, 1.4 percent,” the PSA said.
“A faster annual mark-up of 4.8 percent in February was, likewise, observed in the food alone index at the national level. It was pegged at 4.6 percent in the previous month and 3.2 percent in February 2017,” the PSA added. /cbb
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