Marcos Praises Government Fight Against Inflation, Stronger Philippine Economy In Annual Address To Nation

Arief Budi
Arief Budi

Global Courant

MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. praised his administration’s efforts to keep the Philippines on Asia’s list of fastest growing economies despite skyrocketing commodity prices, the biggest problem that has plagued his administration to date.

In his annual State of the Nation address on Monday, Mr Marcos said his administration is doing everything it can to ensure prices remain stable.

“Inflation is moving in the right direction… We are stabilizing the prices of all critical commodities,” he said. “There are many things that we have no control over. But those that we do have control over, we do everything we can.”

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The inflation rate fell to 5.4 percent in June, the fifth consecutive month of slowdown from January’s peak of 8.7 percent. A year ago, in June 2022, inflation was 6.1 percent.

While giving few details, the president said he plans to boost agricultural production by modernizing value chains, which will be complemented by “timely and calibrated” imports.

He vowed to crush the existing cartels that hoard supplies and manipulate the prices of agricultural products, a curse of his administration, which aims to turn farms into growth engines.

Cartel activities have led to price increases of key food commodities such as rice and onions, whose production has been plagued by ongoing problems such as adverse weather patterns, lack of support for farmers and supply chain problems.

Onions have become a symbol of inflation, with the price rising sixfold to 600 pesos (S$15) per kg by the end of 2022.

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“We are going after you… What these cartels are doing is cheating. The days of these smugglers and hoarders are numbered,” said Marcos.

Since taking power in June 2022, Marcos has been guiding the Philippines through the effects of a pandemic and a rapidly rising national debt, which reached 13.86 trillion pesos at the end of March.

While rising commodity prices remain a thorny issue for his administration, the president remains wildly popular among Filipinos and enjoys majority support in both chambers of Congress. His approval and trust scores were 78 percent and 80 percent, respectively, in the March survey by local pollster Pulse Asia Research.

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Days before his speech, he set the tone for his second year in power by launching a new government slogan, “New Philippines”. It’s a nod to his late dictator father and namesake, whose two-decade reign had his own slogan, “New Society.”

Some of President Marcos’s policies as concurrent chief of agriculture are a revival of his father’s flagship programs.

These include the Kadiwa program, where the government helps farmers sell their products directly to consumers, and the recently launched food stamp program for poor families.

Marcos Praises Government Fight Against Inflation, Stronger Philippine Economy In Annual Address To Nation

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