December 5, 2019

Government should ensure sufficient food supply and manage upside risks such as the impact of Typhoon Tisoy and the African Swine Fever (ASF) to handle inflation, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s headline inflation accelerated to 1.3 percent.

‘This is mainly driven by an uptick in fish prices and a slower deflation in rice and electricity, gas and other fuels, and can be partly attributed to waning base effects from last year.

The November inflation outturn brings year-to-date inflation to 2.5 percent, which is within the government’s full-year 2019 inflation target of 2.0 to 4.0 percent.

“We expect the 2019 full-year inflation to settle within the government’s target. However, there remains upside risks to inflation such as the impact of Typhoon Tisoy and ASF. It is also crucial to ensure sufficient supply of key food items in managing the country’s overall inflation, especially with the anticipated surge in demand this holiday season,” said NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development and Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Adoracion M. Navarro.

She added that the recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the disaster-stricken areas should be prioritized.

Based on the initial estimates of the Department of Agriculture (DA), as of 6 a.m., of December 5, 2019, the agriculture sector may have incurred a total of PHP811.52 million in crop losses brought about by the destruction of typhoon Tisoy in the Bicol and MIMAROPA regions. Rapid estimation is currently being done for the other affected regions—Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and Eastern Samar regions.

“The government should also provide financial aid to farmers affected by the recent typhoon by providing emergency loans such as the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s Survival and Recovery Assistance Program as well as cash-for-work programs,” said Navarro.

Moreover, she stressed that the government should continue to strictly implement its biosecurity measures and quarantine procedures to control the spread of ASF in the country.

“This should be coupled with the provision of indemnity fund and loan assistance to affected farmers. Fast-tracking of the formulation of the Philippines’ national zoning plan to effectively implement the government’s ASF eradication efforts is also needed,” said Navarro.

Navarro is currently the OIC while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia is on official travel abroad.