FOOD PRICES continue to rise despite the US-Duterte regime’s brag that inflation rate fell to 4.4% at the start of the year from last year’s average of 5.4%. The decline did not mean that prices of goods and services have fallen. It only meant that prices and fees rose slower.
Statistics from the reactionary state itself prove that commodity prices remain high. For instance, compared to last year, rice prices are still higher by P3. Also, sugar is still more expensive by P10 and garlic by P20, while other vegetables run from P10-P40. In various Metro Manila markets, prices of pork, beef, chicken and cadfish remain unchanged in January, compared to prices in October when inflation hit 6.7%, the highest in 10 years.
According to Ibon, it is the poorest who suffer the most amid rise in food prices. Patterns of family expenditures of Filipino families show that the poorest families spend 60% of their income to buy food. Thus, when inflation rises, hunger becomes more prevalent.
Ibon likewise mocked the Duterte regime’s economic managers’ projection that inflation will fall to 2% to 4% this year. “Impossible,” Ibon stated, especially since the second series of excise taxes on petroleum products is set to take effect this year. This, coupled with high crude prices in international markets mean whatever slowdown in inflation will be eaten by higher transportation costs. Duterte’s officials admitted that they did not include the said new taxes to their calculations.