Slower inflation to benefit industrialists, not the masses
Militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) on Friday said the slowdown in inflation last month will benefit high-income earners more than the masses.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Wednesday that year-onyear inflation eased to 6.0 percent in November from a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in October.
“The Palace accepts this as good news,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement, attributing this development to government intervention.
But BMP does not think so. “The group believes that a measly drop of 0.7 percentage point will benefit commodity speculators, traders and industrialists rather than lowly wage-earners,” it said in a statement.
In September, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to remove administrative constraints and non-tariff barriers on imported agriculture products to ensure price stability and efficient delivery of agriculture goods.
The labor group, however, downplayed Malacanang’s claim that a slower inflation rate last month was due to the President’s “decisive action” and “empathy to public clamor.”
“If ever easing inflation will result in a drop in wholesale prices, traders will use it as an opportunity to buy cheap and sell dearly during the holidays as workers have received their 13th month pay and bonuses,” BMP said.
“Hungry masses have no reason to rejoice because this will be hardly felt by end consumers. To classify it as good news is at best overrated.”
Even before lower prices of basic necessities could trickle down at the level of retailers, it would dramatically rise again as demand increases as the holidays approach, it said.
“Between today and the holidays, there is an insignificant amount of time for the workers and poor to feel the effects of the drop in inflation on retail prices of their basic needs, if there will be any,” Leody De Guzman, BMP chairperson, said.
“With such a small window, this will hardly make a dent on market prices before its starts rising again,” De Guzman said.
Once the second tranche of the oil excise tax is enforced, it “will unleash more fatal blows to families of wage earners and those belonging to the informal economy,” De Guzman added.
The fuel excise tax will go up to P4.50 from P2.50 for diesel and to P9.00 from P7.00 for gasoline starting Jan. 1, 2019.