In­fla­tion steady at 6.7% in Oc­to­ber

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! - (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philip­pines)

The Oc­to­ber head­line in­fla­tion rate was un­changed from Septem­ber's 6.7 per­cent. It is, how­ever, faster than the 3.5 per­cent in Oc­to­ber 2017.

The PSA said there were mixed move­ments in the in­fla­tion rates of the dif­fer­ent com­mod­ity groups.

Six com­mod­ity groups posted higher in­fla­tion, namely hous­ing, wa­ter, elec­tric­ity gas, and other fu­els (4.8 per­cent); fur­nish­ing, house­hold equip­ment and rou­tine main­te­nance of the house (3.7 per­cent); health (4.3 per­cent); trans­port (8.8 per­cent); recre­ation and cul­ture (3.1 per­cent); and restau­rant and mis­cel­la­neous goods and ser­vices (4.2 per­cent).

Food and non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages in­fla­tion barely changed to Oc­to­ber's 9.4 per­cent from Septem­ber's 9.7 per­cent. The al­co­holic bev­er­ages and tobacco bas­ket was also sta­ble at 21 per­cent in Oc­to­ber from 21.8 per­cent last month.

Price in­creases slowed in corn and meat, both at 7.5 per­cent; fruits, 4.3 per­cent; and veg­eta­bles, 15.8 per­cent.

Other food groups reg­is­tered higher an­nual in­cre­ments in Oc­to­ber.

Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said it could be con­sid­ered "good news" that the head­line in­fla­tion "did not go up."

Panelo also be­lieved that the lat­est in­fla­tion rate re­flects the gov­ern­ment's ef­forts to tem­per the ris­ing prices of goods.

"Con­sid­er­ing the directives of the Pres­i­dent, sup­ply­ing us with food and other mea­sures un­der­taken by the Depart­ment of Fi­nance, as well as agri­cul­ture and trade. I think that con­trib­utes," the Palace of­fi­cial said in a press con­fer­ence.

"Ap­par­ently, the mea­sures un­der­taken by the gov­ern­ment has af­fected the in­fla­tion rate. So we will main­tain it," he added.

On Septem­ber 21, Duterte signed an ad­min­is­tra­tive or­der and three mem­o­randa to tame the soar­ing prices of goods and ba­sic com­modi­ties.

Ad­min­is­tra­tive Or­der 13 aims to stream­line pro­ce­dures on the im­por­ta­tion of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, while Mem­o­ran­dum Or­ders 26, 27, and 28 seek to sta­bi­lize prices of ba­sic agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties at rea­son­able lev­els and main­tain their suf­fi­cient sup­ply in the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

Asked if the gov­ern­ment ex­pects in­fla­tion to slow down in the next few months, Panelo said: "Well, hope­fully. It de­pends on the global con­di­tions."

The Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas ear­lier fore­cast the Oc­to­ber 2018 in­fla­tion to range from 6.2 per­cent to seven per­cent, while the Depart­ment of Fi­nance pro­jected it at 6.5 per­cent. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philip­pines) CHI­NESE busi­ness­man Michael Yang is Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte's eco­nomic ad­viser, Mala­cañang con­firmed Tues­day, Novem­ber 6, con­tra­dict­ing the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive's pre­vi­ous denial.

Speak­ing to Palace re­porters, Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo ad­mit­ted that Yang is "one of the con­sul­tants of the Pres­i­dent."

"Michael Yang is just one of those ad­vis­ers that the Pres­i­dent con­sults on a par­tic­u­lar mat­ter," Panelo said.

"He (Duterte) con­sults him (Yang) ev­ery now and then. You know, Mr. Yang is a wealthy man. He has [risen] from poor ori­gins to be­ing a wealthy man and he has tech­ni­cal know-how [on] how to run a busi­ness," he added.

Panelo's state­ment coun­tered Duterte's ear­lier re­marks that Yang is not his eco­nomic ad­viser be­cause the lat­ter is "a Chi­nese."

When told that Duterte had de­nied Yang's ap­point­ment, Panelo said he would seek the Pres­i­dent's clar­i­fi­ca­tion to give an "ac­cu­rate re­sponse."

On Oc­to­ber 18, Sen­a­tor Leila de Lima filed Se­nate Res­o­lu­tion 922, urg­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate Se­nate com­mit­tee to look into the claim of Yang, a Chi­nese na­tional also iden­ti­fied as Yang Hong Min, that he is Duterte's eco­nomic ad­viser.

Yang has re­port­edly been hand­ing out busi­ness cards, iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as "pres­i­den­tial eco­nomic ad­viser" and bear­ing the of­fi­cial seal of the Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines and the of­fi­cial logo of his firm, Full Win Com­pany.

De Lima sought to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of Yang's "of­fi­cial en­gage­ment" un­der the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, cit­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that the busi­ness­man has ac­cess to "sen­si­tive state in­for­ma­tion."

Un­der Sec­tion 24(2) of Re­pub­lic Act 9184, gov­ern­ment agen­cies are al­lowed to hire for­eign con­sul­tants who are able to meet el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria and un­dergo pub­lic bid­ding.

Panelo said Duterte needs a con­sul­tant like Yang, be­cause the Chi­nese na­tional "knows a lot of peo­ple in the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment."

Duterte has mended ties with China on the be­lief that bet­ter re­la­tions could help the Philip­pines im­prove its econ­omy.

"Be­cause he (Yang) is Chi­nese, he knows a lot of peo­ple in the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. And he knows the psy­chol­ogy of the Chi­nese. On that as­pect, the Pres­i­dent needs peo­ple like him," Panelo said.

Asked what tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise Yang has pro­vided to Duterte, Panelo said: "I think that's be­tween the Pres­i­dent and the eco­nomic ad­viser. You can­not be re­veal­ing those things."

Panelo re­fused to fur­ther com­ment, when pressed again about Yang's ac­cess to the coun­try's sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

He, how­ever, as­sured that Yang does not cre­ate poli­cies for the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment, since "it is the Pres­i­dent who cre­ates poli­cies."

Quizzed how Yang ben­e­fit­ted from the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Palace of­fi­cial said, "That's for be­tween him and the Pres­i­dent."

HE an­nual in­crease in the prices of goods and ser­vices re­mained at a nine-year high of 6.7 per­cent in Oc­to­ber 2018, the Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Au­thor­ity (PSA) an­nounced on Tues­day, Novem­ber 6.

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