Malacañang on Friday maintained that there is no reason to panic despite an inflation that hit a nine-year high at 6.4 percent in August.
“This 6.4 is not unprecedented in our history. We have inflations rates of 7 percent. During GMA’s (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) time it was double digit and in GMA time it was only what? Eight years ago? So it’s not a reason to be – to have any sort of panic,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Amman, Jordan.
Roque, however, clarified the government is not ignoring the increasing inflation, saying measures are now in place to counter its impact particularly to the poor Filipinos.
“It’s not that we are ignoring it, we are addressing. Kaya lang hindi naman overnight iyong resulta ng mga anti-inflationary measures na ginagawa ng gobyerno (But the results of the anti-inflationary measures that government is doing cannot be achieved overnight),” he said.
He identified some anti-inflationary measures like social grants like Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and Unconditional Cash Transfer as well additional rice imports and importation of cheaper diesel.
Roque said the promise of President Rodrigo Duterte to open the warehouses of rice hoarders is additional measure to bring down the prices of rice.
“It means we are addressing the issue of inflation. It will not happen overnight,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roque denied observation of some political analysts that the decision of President Duterte to declare void ab initio the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was squid tactic to hide the effects of high inflation.
“I beg to disagree. It is not true that we have to resort to diversionary tactics. Our President is addressing it and the President has also said that the buck stops with him,” Roque said.
He believed the opposition is using inflation as political issue due to the forthcoming mid-term elections next year.
“I think it’s very obvious,” Roque said.
He also rejected suggestion that government should impose price control particularly on prices of food and other basic commodities.
“We cannot just declare price control. Under the price control act, there should be declaration of state of calamity or if there is martial law or suspension of writ of habeas corpus,” he said.
Roque reiterated that increasing the supply is another solution to bring the prices down.