Economic managers meet with House Speaker on inflation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 31) -- House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had called on economic managers for lunch Tuesday to discuss inflation.

Commodity prices have been on the rise since January, with inflation at five-year high 5.2 percent in June. The latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) estimates peg inflation at 5.1 to 5.8 percent in July.

The closed-door lunch at the House of Representatives lasted for around an hour.

In a Facebook post, Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said that economic managers and the House economic team discussed several measures to temper inflation.

To address the hike in electricity and oil prices, which was one of the factors that had highest impact in last month's inflation, a new feed-in-tariff allowance was suggested, Salceda shared.

Meanwhile, to address price hikes in fish and meat, the possibility of removing tariffs on imports was considered.

For the price of rice, the proposal was to have the National Food Authority to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of well-milled rice, to be delivered over a period of five to six months was discussed.

"What are the concerns on inflation that the former president said? Well, we have to bring down the inflation. We have to find ways of softening the inflation because this was really what matters to the people," Pernia said about the meeting.

Diokno said it's a challenge to convince lawmakers on the need to have a balance between structural reforms targeted by the Duterte administration and the immediate concern of rising prices.

"Kasi importante rin yun eh kasi we're adopting structural reforms, baka sumabit kung hindi convinced yung mga congressmen, senators na we're doing something kasi ang immediate concern ng tao ngayon ay inflation talaga eh," Diokno said.

[Translation: It's also important, that we're adopting structural reforms. It might be stalled if Congress is not convinced that we're doing something, because the immediate concern of the people is inflation.]