THE administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. vowed to “arrest” the recent acceleration of inflation in the country that was heavily driven by the increase in oil prices in the world market, Department of Finance Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

In a press conference at Malacañang, Diokno said the government will do it by addressing constraints in the food, energy and transportation and logistical sectors.

He said the government will continue distributing fuel subsidies to affected populations such as drivers, fisherfolk and farmers; continue importation of products, which are in short supply; and improve transportation and logistics sectors.

He said the fuel subsidy will be funded by the windfall tax from fuel products.

He said the government will expedite the release of the second tranche of subsidies for the transportation sector to cushion the effect of the crisis.

“Kasi naka-set naman ang specific tax for petroleum products since tumaas ang presyo ng gasoline in the world market tapos nag-depreciate ng konti ‘yung peso, so the peso value of our imports has increased, so magkakaroon tayo ng additional revenue as a result of that,” said Diokno.

“Doon natin kukuhanin ‘yung pagtaaas ng presyo ng gasoline ibabalik natin sa taong bayan in the form of targeted subsidy, hindi lahat makakakuha pero ‘yung mga mas apektado sila ang makakakuha,” he added.

In March, Duterte approved the release of funds for the “Pantawid Pasada” program amid the series of oil price hikes.

A total of 377,000 drivers were eligible for the fuel subsidy worth P6,500.

The country’s inflation rate stood at 6.1 percent in June, the highest in almost four years.

Diokno said the annual average inflation for 2022 would be in the neighborhood of five percent.

He said it is projected to go down to 4.2 percent in 2023 and will be back to the target range of two to four percent at 3.3 percent by 2024.

“This is a problem faced by many countries, you cannot cut inflation overnight, it should be gradual,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)