(PNA File photo)

 

MANILA – The country’s inflation rate further increased to 7.7 percent in October, almost a 1 percent jump from 6.9 recorded in September, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Friday.

It was the highest inflation rate since December 2008.

The PSA, however, said the rate of price increase of goods and services remained within the central bank's projection of 7.1 to 7.9 percent for the previous month.

"The continued uptrend of the October 2022 inflation was primarily due to the higher annual growth rate in the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages at 9.4 percent, from 7.4 percent in September 2022," PSA said.

The average inflation from January to October this year settled at 5.4 percent.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) attributed the uptrend in inflation to external pressures, such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the lockdowns in China that disrupted the global supply chain, and the lingering effects of recent typhoons including Karding that hit the country late September.

“Our immediate priority is to continue supporting the most vulnerable sectors of the economy, hence, the cash transfers and fuel discounts will continue. This will alleviate the effects of the sustained increase in commodity prices as a result of global headwinds as well as the recent typhoons which damaged our domestic production and disrupted food supply,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

Balisacan added that part of the government's medium-term strategy is to invest in climate-smart agriculture technologies that will make the country's agriculture sector resilient to calamities, such as extreme weather conditions.

"It’s high time that we boost support for the agriculture sector not only in post-disaster recovery but more importantly through preemptive measures. To sustain productivity and resilience, climate-adaptive agricultural technologies should be put in place and value chains strengthened. In addition, one of the priority legislative measures of the President is the creation of the Department of Water Resources that will oversee the use and supply of water, and mitigate the risks of water-induced disasters,” he added.

The NEDA chief likewise assured the public that the government is closely monitoring the price increases and possible inflation pressures.

"We continue to prioritize and proactively manage these issues by providing immediate assistance and enabling timely imports to augment domestic food production while building the resilience of families, communities, and the economy," Balisacan said. (PNA)