From Mario Casayuran
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian urged the Department of Finance (DOF) Wednesday to set up a multi-agency task force that would be responsible for mitigating the effects of rising inflation in the country.
& # 39; & # 39; It can be a multisectoral and multi-departmental task force so that we can come up with a holistic approach to curb inflation, "Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian made this proposal following a recent hearing by his Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, on the inflationary consequences of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
Although many of the mitigating measures of the various authorities in the government's economic cluster could be implemented within 90 days, these were "a mix of different measures and different strategies," he noted.
"I would really like to have a uniform approach to this problem and I think the right agency to do that is DOF, along with DBM (Department of Budget and Management)," he said.
At the hearing, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) revealed that the four main driving forces for July 2018 inflation were rising food prices due to the weather; higher excise duties on sweetened beverages and fuel and the planned increase in excise duties on tobacco products; higher electricity generation costs and higher water rates; and the approved provisional minimum price increase for P1 jeepney in the National Capital Region and Region 3 and 4.
During the hearing, it was also revealed that there were delays in the implementation of various social restraints, including the 10 percent discount on rice sold by the National Food Authority (NFA), the Unconditional Money Transfer program and the Pantawid Pasada program (PPP). ). ).
The NFA has admitted that the 10 percent discount still has to be applied because DBM has not provided any financing.
Gatchalian said he plans to hold more committee hearings "as long as inflation is a constant concern."
"We can see that this year has been very volatile in terms of fluctuations in prices, and as long as inflation is a constant concern, we plan to hold even more hearings," he said.
"These are the times when we need to be very vigilant, these are the times when we really need to be on the ball with monitoring, analyzing and enforcing measures to limit inflation," he added.
Gatchalian also said that he hoped that the agencies involved could make concrete progress with the implementation of these measures in future hearings.