Fast-track policies to control inflation, economic managers told

MANILA Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday called on the country's economic managers to "move faster" in implementing their policies to curb inflation.

Arroyo made the statement amid reports that the country's headline inflation further quickened to 6.7 percent in September, recording a fresh nine-year high.

She, however, noted that it is possible for the government to slow down inflation in a matter of months.

"Well, what can I say is that it happened to me before but then within a few months, we were able to bring it down to 1.5 percent so it can be done," Arroyo said in an ambush interview after her inspection of the slope protection project at Barangay Maligaya in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

"And my advice is for the economic team to move faster on implementation of their policies which are more or less correct," she added.

During Arroyo's presidency, inflation peaked at 6.6 percent in March 2009, but it was brought down to 1.5 percent in June of the same year.

She also reiterated the need to give adequate support to the agriculture sector as a long-term solution to the rising inflation rate, as she eyes to increase the budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

"As we were analyzing the budget, we realized that from 6 percent of the budget in my time, agriculture went down afterwards to 1.5 percent. No wonder we have shortage of food because after my administration, in the previous administration to this one, the growth of agriculture became negative so there is really a correlation between what you do in the budget and what happens to the sector," Arroyo said.

"I'm trying to see whether we can increase the budget of the DA this time to PHP20 billion which is a very, very tall order but that's what I am trying to tell the committee that's doing the amendments," she added.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday night approved on second reading the proposed House Bill 8169, which pertains to the PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget.

A small committee was created to finalize the individual amendments to the proposed national budget.

The House targets to approve the HB 8169 on third and final reading by October 12 before its scheduled adjournment. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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