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Bicolanos alarmed over high inflation

By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- The Albay Chamber Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has expressed alarm over the spiked of the region’s inflation rate posting a 9 percent the highest among the regions. Rose Quinto Rey, ACCI president in a phone interview said the economic situation in Bicol is getting serious as prices of rice, vegetables, meat and other basic commodities has reached a level where common people could no longer afford. She said government should start looking for solutions in bringing down the high prices of basic commodities that has triggered the spiked in the region inflation rate by 9 percent. Rey said “people starting to be scared as they are now feeling the effects.” She even expressed doubts on how the country’s economic managers is addressing this problem saying “they have made the wrong projection and delayed action in looking for alternatives measures.” Government should be focused and anticipatory rather than reactionary in solving this economic situation. Asked what measures would she recommend in bringing down the spiraling prices of commodities in the market, Rey said she favors the importation of rice. She even urged the public to look for alternatives like eating camote instead of rice. As for the supply of local fish and meat products she recommends that these products be sold only in the regional market this way it would sustain the supply and keep the prices down. Rey said she would meet with the members of the chamber and urge them to be more “conscientious” and asked businessmen not to take advantage of the situation. Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Bicol has also expressed doubts how the 9 percent Inflation rate in the region was arrived at by the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA). Bhem Romano, DTI Bicol spokesperson said her office would seek an explanation from the PSA about the seemingly unrealistic inflation rate where Bicol posted the highest inflation rate among other regions. Romano said based on the agency monitoring of products within their watch, prices are steady except for one or two products like canned goods. As for the prices of rice the agency said that the prices in Bicol did not even go beyond that of the Zamboanga prices, she said. She however admitted that the contributory factor for the high inflation rate are the spikes in the prices of rice, fish, meat and vegetables. This products are under the watch of the Department of Agriculture, she said.

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