February 05, 2020

 The government remains vigilant as upside risks have emerged from several unexpected phenomena and despite a stable inflation outlook for 2020, said the National Economic and Development Authority.

The country’s headline inflation accelerated to 2.9 percent in January 2020 from 2.5 percent in the preceding month. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas projects inflation to settle at 2.9 percent in 2020 and 2021, within the government’s target range of 2.0-4.0 percent.

“Despite the relatively stable inflation outlook, we cannot be complacent, as the balance of risks remains on the upside for 2020 due to the effects of the Taal Volcano eruption, spread of African Swine Fever, and novel coronavirus (2019-nCov),” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

He added that the country has intensified its preparedness for disaster risk response, including the formulation of recovery and rehabilitation plans, like in the areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

“We should also increase investments in climate and disaster-resilient farm technologies and practices, and promote the adoption of such among farmers and fisherfolk,” Pernia said.

There is also a need to fast-track the implementation of interventions under Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to improve productivity of our farmers, and to continue the implementation of mitigation measures (e.g. Rice Farmers Financial Assistance, Program Quick Response Fund, Survival and Recovery loan) to assist our rice farmers’ transition under the more liberalized rice trade regime.

Moreover, Pernia said that at the local level, biosecurity and border control measures are being strengthened and regulation on the movement of pork products are strictly enforced around the country. These are guided by the Food Safety Act of 2019, Meat Inspection Code of 2003, and National Zoning Plan.

“We remain attentive to the recent developments abroad which could affect domestic pump prices. Over the medium- to long-term, it is essential for the country to explore alternative and cheaper energy from local sources to become less import-dependent,” the Cabinet official said.

Further, everyone should be on the guard vis-à-vis the 2019-nCov, be cognizant of related developments here and abroad, and observe precautionary measures and advisories from the Department of Health and other concerned agencies.