DOF says Duterte administration quickest to solve inflation
MANILA, Philippines—The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte was quicker in addressing inflation than any of its predecessors, according to the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF).
Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran, DOF chief economist, said in a report to his boss, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, that the Duterte administration was able to tame inflation, which averaged 5.6 percent last year, in 11 months.
The country was hit by high consumer prices four times in the past 15 years but it took a shorter time for the Duterte administration to control the inflation rate, which surged to a 10-year high in 2018, according to Beltran’s report.
The rate of increase in prices of basic commodities reached 4.3 percent in March 2018, exceeding government targets. It eased last February to 3.8 percent.
By comparison, Beltran said in his report that the administration of Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, an economics professor, took 31 months to tame inflation from more than 4 percent in June 2004 to just below 4 percent in January 2017.
His report added that under Arroyo, inflation went berserk to 4.6 percent in January 2008 and it took her administration 17 months to ease it to less than 4 percent.
In January 2011 under former President Benigno Aquino III, inflation hit 4 percent, and it took 13 months before it was brought down to 3 percent in February 2012, according to Beltran.
“In our case, the Duterte administration took 11 months to move it below 4 percent, so we did it faster,” Beltran said.
The DOF had blamed increases in fuel prices, adjustment of interest rates by the US government, global trade tensions and food supply bottlenecks for runaway inflation in 2018.
It also admitted that the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or Train, law was partly to blame as its positive effects, like creation of more jobs, fueled a rise in consumption which meant demand outlasted supply.
The DOF said President Duterte himself saw the solutions, easing the importation of food to bring down prices and bridging the gap between farm gate and retail prices of agricultural goods in 2018. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)