MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's statement that he “disagreed” with the country's 6.1 percent inflation rate in June was "misunderstood" by the public, according to Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
"He was referring to it as a full-year figure when in fact the year-to-date (January to June) average inflation rate was actually 4.4 percent," Diokno said during a palace briefing on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Marcos appeared to have cast doubt on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s report that inflation in June reached 6.1 percent, when prices were compared to the same month in 2021.
“I think that I will have to… I will have to disagree with that number. We are not that high. We have crossed the .. our targets were less 4 percent or less, unfortunately, it looks like we may cross that… cross that threshold. Tatawid tayo sa 4 percent,” Marcos said.
The PSA stood by its report, while an economic think tank called on the President to show his basis for disagreeing with the state statistics bureau.
Meanwhile, Diokno also said Marcos was correct in saying that inflation was a worldwide problem.
“The President was correct in saying that the current high inflation experience is global,” Diokno said.
He noted that in June, Thailand’s inflation hit 7.7 percent, while inflation in the eurozone hit an 11-year high of 8.6 percent, and inflation in the US soared to a 40-year high of 8.6 percent.
“Rest assured that the recent acceleration of inflation will be arrested by the government through addressing constraints in the food, energy and transportation and logistics sectors,” Diokno said.
The Finance chief said the government will continue giving fuel subsidies to the transport sector as well as farmers and fisherfolk. The country will also continue importing products that “are in short supply.”
Diokno said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expects inflation "will remain elevated in the next few months," but will slow down to 4.2 percent next year, and back to the target rate of 3.3 percent by 2024.
- Report from Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News