Senator Win Gatchalian has emphasized the urgent need for government action to address the challenges posed by rising prices of basic commodities and to improve Filipinos’ quality of life.
“While higher consumer prices take a toll on everyone, those severely affected by it are the poorest of the poor,” said Gatchalian, referring to the Philippine Statistic’s Authority’s September inflation data, which showed a 6.9% inflation rate for the bottom 30% income households, significantly higher than the 6.1% inflation experienced by all households. The 6.9% inflation rate for the bottom 30% income households is higher from 5.6% in August and averaged 7.3% in the nine months to September.
Specifically, Gatchalian proposes that the government implement a targeted rice subsidy program in the next 3 to 6 months to alleviate food insecurity among the country’s bottom 30% income households.
“Modest changes in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages will have more dent on the bottom 30% income households since their priority focuses on subsistence. This is where the government should concentrate its efforts — assisting these bottom 30% households cope with increasing prices of their vital needs,” he said.
“We hope such an initiative will ensure that the most vulnerable households have steady access to affordable rice,” remarked Gatchalian, noting that the price of rice had the most significant impact on the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket.
The inflation data for September showed that food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 54.93% of the total figure for the bottom 30% households, compared to the 37.75% weight for all-income households.
In the long term, the government should strengthen the supply chain and encourage private sector investment and competition to boost production and supply to mitigate inflationary pressures as a long-term solution, he added.