Roque on 9-year high inflation: ‘Nothing to worry about’

Pia Ranada
Roque on 9-year high inflation: ‘Nothing to worry about’
Malacañang says the 6.4% August inflation rate is 'not ridiculously high' and points to other indicators that show a healthy Philippine economy

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang again downplayed the record-high 6.4% inflation rate in August, saying people should calm down and not worry too much.

Hinay-hinay lang tayo (Let’s calm down). It’s higher than usual but it’s nothing to be worried about,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Friday, September 7, from Amman, Jordan where he was holding a press conference.

He said that while inflation is historically high, it’s not high enough for the administration to declare a state of calamity.

“Historically it’s high but not ridiculously high. If you compare, even PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) said during her time, it was double-digit inflation rate but she did not resort to state of calamity,” said Roque.

He attributed the August inflation rates to the limited supply of essential goods that could not keep up with the strong demand due to the supposedly robust economy.

“There’s strong demand but limited supply that’s why the prices of goods went up,” he said in Filipino.

The administration would likely resort to importing more goods if need be to tame inflation. Roque said price control was not an option being considered.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman also sought to allay fears about the 13-year low of the value of the Philippine peso against the United States dollar.

He attributed this to the country’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program that required importing of construction materials, thus leading to a stronger dollar.

Other economic indicators, he said, showed that the Philippine economy is doing well.

“GDP (gross domestic product) is up, the economic outlook is good, unemployment went down. This means the lowering of the peso is demand-related,” he said.

The night before, Duterte held a meeting with the Cabinet members who accompanied him to his visits to Israel and Jordan. The economy was only mentioned, said Roque. It was the voiding of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s amnesty that took up the bulk of discussions. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.