Stable food prices seen with Agri-Trucks Toll Rebate Program

Stable food prices seen with Agri-Trucks Toll Rebate Program
SunStar File

DEPARTMENT of Finance (DOF) Secretary Ralph Recto has expressed optimism that food prices will be stable in the coming months following the implementation of the government’s Agri-Trucks Toll Rebate Program.

“I thank our government agencies, as well as our partner toll expressway concessionaires and operators for their full cooperation,” Recto said in a statement on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

“This measure will prevent the second round effects of toll rate increases onto food inflation and ensure that we keep food prices stable and affordable for our consumers,” he added.

Under the program, which was led by the DOF, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Department of Agriculture (DA), with the support of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Tollways, DA-accredited truckers are entitled to receive rebates equivalent to toll hikes implemented from June 2023, starting June 1, 2024.

It is expected to benefit 200 to 300 trucks carrying agriculture products traversing expressways in both north and south Luzon. It will be valid for those with Autosweep and/or Easytrip RFID accounts.

Once enrolled and approved into the system, toll rebates will be credited to the truckers’ RFID accounts every Wednesday of the following week.

The program will initially run for three months and be subject for review for possible extension, depending on the inflationary situation.

Covered by the program are the Manila-Cavite Expressway, North Luzon Expressway, Subic Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, and the South Luzon Expressway.

In April 2024, the country’s inflation stood at 3.8 percent, higher than the 3.7 percent inflation during the month prior.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said the uptrend in the overall inflation in April 2024 was primarily influenced by the higher year-on-year increase in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages at 6.0 percent, the faster annual growth rate of the transport index at 2.6 percent, and the higher inflation rate in information and communication at 0.5 percent.

The food inflation at the national level, which shared 2.2 percentage points in the headline inflation, went up from 5.7 percent in March 2024 to 6.3 percent in April due to the year-on-year increase in the vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses index at 4.3 percent; and fish and other seafood with an inflation rate of 0.4 percent. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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