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MANILA — Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan has highlighted the crucial role of sustained targeted subsidies and ensuring that there is an ample supply of food in the domestic market to help Filipinos amid inflationary pressures.
“The government’s priority is to make sure that there is sufficient and affordable food supply for every Filipino family,” Balisacan said in a statement Wednesday.
Balisacan, also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief, made the statement following the release of consumer price index (CPI) figures for September 2022, which stood at 6.9 percent —the highest since October 2018.
He said the uptrend in inflation is observed not only in the Philippines but also in other countries due to subdued demand last year brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, external pressures on commodity prices, logistics challenges, impacts of weather disturbances, and the volatile exchange rates amid the stronger United States dollar.
“Today’s inflation is far more complex than what we have seen in recent decades. The government and its stakeholders need to collaborate for shared solutions. In the near-term, ensuring sufficient food supply, while assisting the most vulnerable sectors will help us hurdle the current challenges,” he added.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the faster increase in prices of commodity groups of food and non-alcoholic beverages; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; and transport had the biggest contribution to the higher inflation rate last month.
Malaki ang papel ng sektor ng agrikultura upang mapanatiling may sapat na pagkain ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino at abot-kaya ang mga pangunahing bilihin. Kaya’t tinitiyak nating may suportang nakalaan para sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda upang mapalawak ang supply ng bigas, mais, karne, at isda (The agriculture sector plays a major role in ensuring that there is sufficient supply of food and affordable basic commodities for every Filipino family. So we ensure that there is support for our farmers and fisherfolk to boost the supply of rice, corn, meat, and fish),” Balisacan added.
With the recent onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding late last month, Balisacan said the Department of Agriculture allocated PHP709 million worth of assistance and interventions to address the damage in production facilities as well as for seed distribution.
He added the government is also providing PHP3,000 worth of fuel discounts to each eligible farmer as a subsidy amid the higher fuel cost.
The NEDA said that as of Sept. 26, there were 148,183 accounts of farmers and fishermen registered for the fuel discounts. 
Of the said accounts, 136,988 have been loaded with fuel discount cards and the government already issued 101,743 cards to corn farmers and fisherfolk.
Meanwhile, NEDA said the government still expects to have ample supply of rice, chicken, highland vegetables, yellow corn, and white corn until the end of 2022 despite the several weather disturbances in the previous months. (PNA)