MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr should present his basis for his ‘disagreement’ with the Philippine Statistics Authority’s report that inflation had quickened to 6.1 percent in June, a think tank said on Wednesday.
IBON Foundation executive director Sonny Africa said it was the first time that he heard a president dispute any data from a statistical agency.
"We have to hold on to science and believe in the professionalism I think of our statistical agencies. If the President has alternative data, of course, it's very welcome. But in all honesty, the way he delivered his message, he just seemed to be making a knee-jerk reaction, which I think was unbecoming of the President," Africa said on ANC’s Headstart.
Africa said he doubts the President has a basis for his doubt.
"If he had he would have mentioned it. The only semblance of argument he had was invoking na tumawid daw sa (crossed) 4 percent. I mean that's a stated fact we have breached 4 percent, and breaching 4 percent is not an argument for 6.1 percent being wrong so I don’t think he has any data at hand to dispute the 6.1 percent figure," he said.
Marcos was being asked about his plans to address rising prices when he expressed his doubts about the PSA inflation report.
The PSA meanwhile has said it stands by its report.
Africa noted that Marcos did not present an economic platform during the campaign period.
"If you did have a sense of how deep the economic problems are, we would've thought that a serious President who really prioritizes the socioeconomic crisis wouldn't wait to be elected to put a package together," he said.
Meanwhile, Africa said Marcos taking on the helm of the agriculture department was a "double-edged sword" as failure to improve the sector will be taken on his account, according to Africa.
"If it does lead to real self-sufficiency approach, to an increase in agriculture budget and real support for domestic producers that makes prices cheaper in the future, I think that is worth supporting. But there are other problems beyond agri that I think should be attended to as well," he said.
Africa also scored Marcos for saying that commodity prices “are beyond our control.” In the case of fuel prices, Africa said this was because of deregulation.
"We don't have control right now because we chose not to have control, because we bought into this hype that deregulating is a good thing, and then we just have to rely on market forces and the goodwill of corporations to be honest in their pricing mechanisms," he said.