Inflation steady at 6.7% in October
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.