March 5, 2020

The government needs to remain vigilant and well-positioned against possible risks to inflation in the country, said the National Economic and Development Authority.

Headline inflation eased to 2.6 percent in February 2020, lower than the 2.9 percent recorded in the previous month and the 3.8 percent inflation in February 2019.

This brings year-to-date inflation to 2.8 percent, within the government’s target range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent for the year.

“While inflation is expected to remain well within the target for this year, government must not be complacent and ensure that strategies are well-positioned against risks brought by continuous spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), tighter rice supply from Thailand, and the on-going outbreak of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019),” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

“We call on our colleagues in the government, both in the national and local levels, to stand ready in effectively managing the demand and supply of key agricultural commodities which will possibly be affected by these risks,” he added.

Pernia highlighted the recently reported oversupply of vegetables and possible delayed arrival of imported products due to production and logistics disruptions in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. He said that providing post-harvest facilities such as cold storage and other logistics support are necessary to assist the affected producers and consumers.

He added that there is a need to strictly implement the national zoning and movement plan as well as the 1-7-10 protocol to prevent and control the spread of ASF to other localities.

The 1-7-10 protocol requires that all hogs within one-kilometer radius from the ASF-affected area are to be culled. Within the seven-kilometer radius, there will be controlling of movement, shipment, and sale of hogs. Within the 10-kilometer radius, all hogs will be placed under monitoring.

Pernia also emphasized the need to effectively utilize the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to improve rice production in the country amid the risk.

“We also need to closely monitor other developments particularly those that may cause disruptions in the global supply chains due to the spread of COVID-19,” he said.