[L-R]: Ms. Menna C. Andaya (NFA), RD Agnes E. Tolentino (NEDA), RD Cynthia L. Perdiz (PSA), Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos (DA) during the presscon on the August 2018 inflation rate.
NEDA Bicol Regional Director Agnes E. Tolentino spearheaded the conduct of a press conference on the latest inflation data for the print, broadcast and television media on Friday (September 7) at NEDA Region 5, Legazpi City. She was joined during the media conference by Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos of DA, Regional Director Cynthia L. Perdiz of PSA, and Ms. Menna C. Endaya of NFA. The press conference was held to explain the rising cost of basic goods and services. Among the regions, Bicol posted the highest rate of 9 percent, up from 7.4 percent in July 2018.
Director Perdiz explained that the (a) increase in food prices especially rice, meat, fish and vegetables and (b) increase in utility costs such as housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels are the highest contributors to inflation. The increase in food prices is attributed to increased demand in food commodities within and outside the region. Contrary to the claims of shortage in food supply, Director de los Santos announced that the region recorded an increase in the production of fish and agricultural commodities. She declared that since 2017, the region is fish sufficient. On the same note, Ms. Menna C. Endaya of NFA stated that the region has 75 days rice consumption buffer. Director Tolentino concluded that the government is committed to lower the inflation rate through policy reforms aimed at lowering food prices such as heightened support on agricultural production, stricter monitoring of prices, and rice tariffication among others. She added that the increase in prices can be expected to slow down in the succeeding months with the government reforms in place, but not with calamities affecting the region.