THE continued increase in international oil prices could have spillover effects, causing food to become expensive in the coming months, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA announced on Friday that inflation slowed to 4.6 percent in October from the 4.8 percent posted in September. Inflation averaged 4.5 percent in the January to October period.

In a briefing on Friday, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the higher oil prices have already affected transportation costs in the country.

“There are expectations that there will be spillover effects (in the other commodity) groups in the basket, particularly as you mentioned, the food basket. So we will be tracking this in the next months particularly in the last two months [because it’s the] holiday season, if we already have that spillover,” Mapa said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the government has put in place measures to prevent an increase in food prices.

“One of the government’s highest priorities amid the mobility restrictions is to ensure stable access to affordable food. The temporary importation of pork has worked in the National Capital Region. We need to leverage this momentum to allow unhampered supply to the wet markets and to all the regions,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said.

Transport inflation

Meanwhile, the Neda said non-food inflation increased to 3.8 percent from 3.3 percent due to higher world market prices for oil.

Neda said transport inflation accelerated from 5.2 percent to 7.1 percent, primarily due to the uptick in private transport inflation from 16.7 percent to 25.5 percent.

However, Neda noted that public transport inflation remained low at 1.2 percent as fares were regulated.

“Many countries, particularly net oil importers such as the Philippines, are feeling the impact of the rising world oil prices. We will continue monitoring the global developments so we can urgently respond to the impact of elevated oil prices on ordinary Filipinos, especially our PUV drivers,” Chua said.  

To help public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers cope with rising fuel prices, Chua said the government has provided cash grants worth P1 billion for some 178,000 eligible drivers for the remainder of the year.

The Inter-Agency Task Force has also approved the increase of passenger capacity for PUVs in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces to 70 percent from 50 percent starting November 4.





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