Slower in­fla­tion to ben­e­fit in­dus­tri­al­ists, not the masses

The Freeman - - BUSINESS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.