Other Government Release

National Economic and Development Authority

Government Bolsters Measures to Tame Upward Price Pressures Amid El Niño, La Niña Challenges – NEDA

MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reaffirms the government’s commitment to secure the nation’s food and energy supplies while proactively addressing potential price fluctuations. As El Niño conditions persist and La Niña threatens the latter half of the year, the government is implementing strategic measures following a holistic approach to managing inflation.

The Philippine Statistics Authority recently reported a slight uptick in the country’s headline inflation rate, which increased to 3.7 percent in March 2024, up from the previous month’s 3.4 percent. Despite this increase, the average inflation rate for the first quarter of 2024 stands at 3.3 percent, well within the government’s targeted range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent for the entire year.

The uptick is mainly due to a faster food inflation rate of 5.7 percent in March 2024, up from 4.8 percent in February 2024. This increase was influenced by rice inflation, which accelerated to 24.4 percent from 23.7 percent, and meat inflation increased to 2.0 percent from 0.7 percent.

Nonetheless, the food inflation rate was tempered by the slower price increases of eggs and other dairy products (2.3% from 3.5%), fruits (7.9% from 8.7%), bread and other cereals (4.6% from 5.1%), and ready-made food products (4.3% from 4.6%). On the other hand, deflation was recorded for fish (-0.9% from 0.7%), vegetables (-2.5% from -11.0%), and sugar (-2.9% from -2.4%).

In contrast, non-food inflation remained stable at 2.4 percent during the month. While there was an upward trend in the March 2024 inflation rate for transportation, restaurants and accommodation, health, and recreation, the slower inflation in housing and utilities offset these.

“The government is closely monitoring weather conditions and their effects on the supply of key commodities, such as food and energy, to protect Filipino households from sudden price increases,” stated NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

“To ensure sufficient water supply and support our farmers during the dry season, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been tasked with monitoring water supply in the country. Simultaneously, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is proactively extending assistance to farmers adversely affected by the drought,” he added.

The government’s chief economic planner also mentioned that preparations for La Niña are starting. These measures aim to ensure food and energy security, availability of clean water supply, and public health and safety.

Moreover, to ease the burden of high electricity prices on vulnerable Filipinos, eligible consumers can receive a 100 percent discount on their monthly bills through the government’s Lifeline Rate program. As of January 2024, 4.9 percent of the 4.6 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries have registered for the program.

As confirmed in a Full Cabinet Meeting held last April 3, 2024, the Development Budget Coordination Committee retains its target range for inflation at 2.0 to 4.0 percent for 2024 until 2028. The committee remains optimistic that the monetary and non-monetary measures will rein in commodity prices and prevent future surges.

“While we continue to face multiple risks, such as potential adjustments in transportation fares, wages, and service utility fees, the Marcos Administration is committed to managing the country’s inflation. This will be key to sustaining our growth momentum and providing a better life for our countrymen,” said Balisacan.