'Vigorous' gov't measures can tame inflation: Arroyo adviser

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2018 11:13 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2018 11:57 AM

A customer passes beside vegetable stalls at the Kamuning Market in Quezon City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – With "vigorous" measures in place, the government can slow inflation to 4.4 percent by the end of the year, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers discussed the measures with Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over lunch last week, according to Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who sat beside Arroyo during the meeting.

Salceda is Arroyo's special focal person for counter-inflation. He also served as economic adviser to Arroyo when she was president.

The economic team is pushing for the approval of a bill that will tax imported rice and the staggered importation of the staple grain, Salceda told ABS-CBN News.

The government may also import fish, feed wheat and vegetables, he said.

Without these measures, inflation will likely quicken to 5.6 percent in July and 5.9 percent in August, he said.

Salceda said he suggested that the Energy Regulatory Commisson defer price adjustments until inflation slows to 2 to 4 percent.

There must be "robust adjustments" in policy rates to respond to inflation, he said.

Official inflation data for July will be released this week. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' Monetary Board will also convene, after raising its benchmark rate twice in its last 2 meetings.