November 5, 2021

The Philippine government continues to implement policies to ensure affordable food prices and support the transport sector, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) today, the headline inflation rate eased to 4.6 percent in October 2021 from 4.8 percent in September 2021. This is at the lower end of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast range of 4.5 to 5.3 percent for October 2021.

Food inflation further slowed down to 5.6 percent in October 2021 from 6.5 percent in September due to the decline in vegetables, fish, and meat inflation.

Vegetable inflation fell to 11.4 percent from 16.2 percent. Likewise, fish inflation decelerated to 9.5 percent in October from 10.2 percent in September 2021. Rice inflation also remained low and stable, at only 0.5 percent in October.

Meanwhile, meat inflation eased to 11.9 percent in October 2021 from 15.6 percent in the previous month. This was primarily driven by the decline in pork inflation to 23.3 percent from 36.4 percent, following the issuance of Executive Order Nos. 133 and 134 in May 2021 to help address pork supply shortages due to the African Swine Fever (ASF).

On a month-on-month basis, pork prices fell by an average of 4.1 percent from September, its largest drop since the height of the ASF in 2020.

To help further bring down pork prices to pre-ASF levels, the Department of Agriculture issued Memorandum Circular No. 23, Series of 2021 on October 25. The circular addresses the low utilization of the pork minimum access volume (MAV) plus by allowing the distribution of imported pork to areas outside the NCR Plus.

“One of the government’s highest priorities amid the mobility restrictions is to ensure stable access to affordable food. The temporary importation of pork has worked in the National Capital Region. We need to leverage this momentum to allow unhampered supply to the wet markets and to all the regions,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

On the other hand, non-food inflation increased from 3.3 percent to 3.8 percent, driven by higher world market prices for oil.

Transport inflation accelerated from 5.2 percent to 7.1 percent, primarily due to the uptick in private transport inflation from 16.7 percent to 25.5 percent. However, public transport inflation remained low at 1.2 percent as fares were regulated.

To help public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers cope with rising fuel prices, the government has provided cash grants amounting to 1 billion pesos for some 178,000 eligible drivers for the remainder of the year.

The Inter-Agency Task Force has also approved the increase of passenger capacity for PUVs in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces from 50 percent to 70 percent, starting November 4, amid the declining number of COVID-19 cases. This increase in transport capacity will enable drivers to earn more income while making it easier for people to travel.

“Many countries, particularly net oil importers such as the Philippines, are feeling the impact of the rising world oil prices. We will continue monitoring the global developments so we can urgently respond to the impact of elevated oil prices on ordinary Filipinos, especially our PUV drivers,” said Chua.

– END –