Govt focusing on aid to poor, vulnerable amid high inflation: NEDA

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2023 04:51 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2023 05:55 PM

Market patrons look for bargains at the Nepa-Q-Mart in Quezon City on December 14, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday said the government has "limited fiscal space" and thus is focusing on aid for the poor and vulnerable sectors amid elevated inflation.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the executive branch is also not yet considering hiking allowances or wages for its employees like what the Senate announced for its workers. 

"On one hand, we are trying to work out na yung inflation na yan ay bumaba in the coming months. Pangalawa, for those na talagang affected adversely lalo na yung very poor and vulnerable groups, yun ang talagang pagbuhusan natin ng assistance," Balisacan told Palace reporters. 

"Our fiscal space is very limited and so, yung approach natin to make sure that we are able to address yung kung saan nanggagaling ang inflation na yan at yan ang ina-address natin ngayon," he added. 

Balisacan noted that some measures are being considered by the government, such as adjusting the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) but talks on this are "still premature." 

NEDA, he said, would just focus on providing aid for the poor as inflation continues to quicken. 

"Sa vulnerable talaga tayo naka-focus ngayon kaya dinadalian namin 'yung mga issues constraining 'yung digitalization kasi yun ang makakatulong na to make sure na ang limited assistance natin ay makakarting talaga sa mga dapat matulungan," he said. 

Inflation in January quickened to 8.7 percent, the highest since November 2008 and faster than the 8.1 percent inflation in December. This was higher than even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' estimate of 7.5 to 8.3 percent. 

The Philippine Statistics Authority said inflation was largely pushed by higher housing rental, power and water rates as well as the high prices of select food items.

Earlier this month, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said the measures to control inflation have yet to take effect

Video fron PTV