DA budget hike, subsidies to cushion inflationary impact - TrueID

DA budget hike, subsidies to cushion inflationary impact

Philippine News AgencySeptember 6, 2022

MANILA – A House leader on Tuesday said the 40-percent increase in the budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA), coupled with the continued targeted subsidies of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the vulnerable sector, will help manage inflation and cushion its impact especially on the poor.

In a media briefing, Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, a senior vice chairperson of the House committee on appropriations, said the proposed budget hike for the agriculture department will help implement programs that would ensure food security, and, in turn, reduce food inflation rate.

“So ibig sabihin, kailangan nating palawakin ang suplay ng agricultural crops natin. Nandiyan ang bigas, corn, of course nandiyan ang karne, ang fish at meat (That means we need to augment our supply of agricultural crops. These include rice, corn, and of course meat and fish),” Quimbo said.

She said the move to increase DA budget is a big step in the right direction.

“Kapag dumadami kasi iyung suplay natin, ang ibig sabihin puwede nating mapababa ang presyo ng pagkain (If our supply increases, that means we could lower the price of food),” she said.

DA and its attached agencies’ budget for next year have increased by PHP46.5 billion or 39.62 percent from this year’s PHP117.29 billion to PHP163.75 billion in 2023.

Quimbo, meanwhile, said DSWD’s continued subsidies will help the vulnerable sectors survive the impact of higher consumer prices.

“Kaya importante ang DSWD assistance programs, we have to make sure na ang ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan, nandiyan ang sufficiently funded na iba’t ibang assistance programs (DSWD’s assistance programs are important so we have to make sure that they are sufficient funded to provide aid to our countrymen who are in need). With or without the pandemic, dapat may assistance programs talaga (there should really be assistance programs,” Quimbo said.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, for his part, said the government’s subsidy programs and its interventions to transform the country’s farming and food systems would ease the impact of global inflationary pressures and protect the purchasing power of Filipinos.

“Recovery is uneven within countries and across countries, and this results in very inefficient supply chains. This is expected to be temporary as markets transition to find the new balance between supply and demand. The situation is made worse by the protracted Russia-Ukraine war, and the country’s weather disturbances particularly La Niña. These serve to magnify the low productivity in our agricultural sector, which needs to be supported immediately,” Balisacan said in a statement.

Balisacan said the government will continue implementing programs that reduce transport and logistics costs to bring inflation down and to protect the purchasing power of our consumers.

He also stressed the need to transform Philippine agriculture into a dynamic and productive sector to speed up recovery and significantly reduce poverty in the country.

“It is our top priority to ensure that Filipino households have sufficient and healthy food on their table, especially the poorer sector of the society,” he said.

To boost domestic supply, the government will continue to support the agriculture sector through lower input costs, innovation in farming, extension of financial assistance to farmers, and boosting the agricultural value chain.

“In the short-term, we need to boost our recovery momentum, while making sure that the most disadvantaged sectors of the country are assisted. Simultaneously, we need to invest in medium-term solutions to improve productivity, especially in agriculture, and build resilience among consumers and producers,” Balisacan said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported Tuesday that the country’s inflation rate eased slightly to 6.3 percent in August 2022 from 6.4 percent in the previous month.

This is within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast range of 5.9 to 6.7 percent for the month, while year-to-date inflation picked up to 4.9 percent. (PNA)

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