August 5, 2020

MANILA – The national and local governments need to strengthen risk management systems to ensure an unhampered and sufficient supply and delivery of essential commodities that will support a stable inflation for the country, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s headline inflation accelerated to 2.7 percent in July 2020 from 2.5 percent last month while seasonally adjusted month-on-month inflation remained steady at 0.4 percent.

This slight uptick was largely due to the increase in the price indices of transport (6.3%), and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (0.8%), which outweighed the slowdown in food and non-alcoholic beverage (2.4%).

“Although we expect that the overall consumer prices will remain benign until 2021, we recognize that the upside risks to the inflation outlook still remain,” Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

“We need to remain vigilant and ensure that strategies are well-placed to ensure stable supply and delivery of essential commodities in all parts of the country,” he added.

With Metro Manila and nearby provinces reverting to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), Chua also highlighted the need to prevent a recurrence of supply chain disruptions, especially for food supplies and basic necessities.

“We need to ensure a smooth functioning of checkpoints, continued implementation of food resiliency protocols, extended provision of mobile markets, and constant encouragement on the use of digital marketing platforms, especially in the areas where MECQ was reimposed,” the Cabinet official said.

Chua also stressed the need to support farmers’ access to disaster-resilient farm technologies, cold storage facilities, and support for crop insurance and diversification to help the agriculture sector. The country braces for more heavy rains and typhoons in the succeeding months.

“We also need to guard against the spread of animal-borne diseases through strengthened border control and phytosanitary measures and be well-prepared for upcoming typhoons this year to prevent loss of lives and mitigate damage to the economy,” he said.

To ensure adequate food supply amid possible lockdowns, Chua also said the Plant, Plant, Plant program of the DA needs to be promoted. “This program, which provides starter kits for urban agriculture, will ease access to nutritious food even when a lockdown is implemented.  Local government units can encourage the use of idle lands for gardening, even community gardening,” he added.