Deceitful use of inflation data

This article is available in Pilipino

The Marcos regime recently boasted that the country’s inflation rates has dropped, particularly from May (3.9%) to June (3.7%). This was coupled with Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s boast that his regime was taking measures to steadily reduce inflation.This “declining inflation” will most probably be one of the topics in his upcoming State of the Nation Address.

However, regime officials admitted that inflation decreased in June mainly due to the artificial decrease in electricity rates which slowed from -8.7% in May to -13.7% in June. As a result, housing and utilities inflation rate dropped from 0.9% (May) to 0.1% in June. Transportation inflation also decreased slightly due to a decrease in personal transportation, mainly because classes have ended.

The main decrease is the result of the Energy Regulatory Board’s order that electricity distribution companies, mainly Meralco, postpone the scheduled large rate increases and to stagger such increases from July to September. Instead of increasing rates, Meralco reduced charges in June by ₱1.96/kwh. This decrease will be reverted, and further increased, in the coming three months.

Looking closely, food rates, the major contributor to the overall inflation rate, has accelerated from 6.1% to 6.5%. This was caused by the increase in the price of vegetables (from 2.7% in May to 7.2% in June) and meat (from 1.6% to 3.1%). Rice inflation or the rate of increase in the price of rice decreased slightly, but it remained high at 22.5% (from 23%).

The poorest families are most affected by the continuous increase in food prices, the Ibon Foundation said. Inflation rates did not decrease for the bottom 30% of the poorest families stood at 5.5% in June, from 5.3% in May and 3.6% in January.

“Filipino families do not earn enough to keep up with the rising cost of food and other necessities,” Ibon insisted. The wage level remains very low, compared to what is needed for a decent living which is ₱1,197/day for a family of five.

The ₱35 increase has no effect on the current ₱610 wage, he said.

AB: Deceitful use of inflation data