Senator Win Gatchalian on Friday urged the government to immediately implement countermeasures to soften the blow of rising inflation on underprivileged Filipinos, warning that inaction could result in growing hunger rates across the country.
“Rising inflation is strongly correlated to increasing hunger prevalence among poor and near poor Filipino households,” said Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, noting that more than half (51 percent) of the inflation felt during January can be attributed to food inflation.
“This means that many of our countrymen are in danger of going hungry if the government doesn’t take immediate action to shield them from rising prices,” he added.
When asked for specific action points, the senator said that the government should first fast-track the full implementation of the expanded cash transfer program meant to provide support to 10 million families nationwide.
“During the Senate deliberations on the TRAIN Law, representatives of the Department of Finance promised us that the government would implement an efficient and responsive cash transfer program to ease the inflationary burdens that would be caused by increased excise taxes. The cash transfer program should have been running at full speed by January 1, but so far it has not delivered the intended results. The Department of Social Welfare and Development needs to work harder to deliver the cash to beneficiaries without any further delay,” he said.
He also urged the government to file criminal and civil cases against business proprietors who have imposed premature price hikes for oil and basic commodities.
“Those price gougers are committing economic sabotage against the Filipino people. They deserve to be thrown in jail,” Gatchalian said.