MANILA - Calling the uptrend "temporary," Malacañang on Saturday said the government is doing its best to ease inflation, which was at a 26-month high in February driven by high meat prices.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said one of the measures in place includes augmenting the country's meat supply, the cost of which recently soared due to the outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF) in different provinces, which has affected supply.
"We are intensifying efforts to ease inflation through immediate interventions... We have implemented pro-active measures, which include the President’s signing of Executive Order No. 124," explained Roque.
The order, signed on Feb. 1, 2021, sets a price ceiling of P270 per kilogram for kasim and pigue, P300 per kilogram for liempo, and P160 per kilogram for dressed chicken in the National Capital Region for 60 days.
The order, which has been criticized by hog raisers, also directed procuring pork products from Visayas and Mindanao, as well as some Luzon provinces that have not recorded any cases of ASF.
The EO likewise aided in transporting meat products to major public markets in Metro Manila and providing transport subsidy.
"Our economic managers see the upward inflation trend as temporary and concerned agencies in the Executive branch continue to check the prices of basic commodities while ensuring that prevailing rates are likewise fair to suppliers," the statement read.
Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the Philippines, where the swine industry is valued at P260 billion, the Department of Agriculture had said.
The 4.7 consumer price index was within the 4.3 to 5.1 percent range forecast by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for February.
The Philippines stands out among major Southeast Asian economies for seeing a continued rise in prices of commodities. Other countries are even seeing deflation as the COVID-19 pandemic depressed demand.
— With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News