LIFTING toll charges for food trucks as well as expanding exemption of pass-through fees to non-rice food items could further bring down inflation, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
Neda Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon said in a recent briefing that these are additional costs that keep inflation high in the Philippines.
Edillon also told BusinessMirror that the pass-through exemption is already part of Executive Order 41. She said several Local Government Units (LGUs), including those in Metro Manila, have issued their respective resolutions to comply with the EO.
“On the exemption from toll fee increase, I know that this is being negotiated with the expressway operators; this was requested by the economic team, mainly the Department of Finance,” Edillon added.
In September, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. issued EO 41, a measure “prohibiting” the collection of logistics fees on national roads and “urging” local government units to suspend the collection of fees on vehicles transporting goods.
What was considered was that, since there will be toll hikes on the expressways, it might be possible to exempt the food delivery trucks from the toll.
So that this would not add to inflation,” Edillon said partly in Filipino, in a briefing.
The President said the three-page issuance was in line with his administration’s goal to reduce transport and logistics costs to help revitalize industries.
Marcos tasked DILG to coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The agencies also included the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and DOF. This will ensure that existing ordinances of LGUs related to pass-through fees are consistent with the LGC.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier disclosed that the country’s inflation slowed to 4.1 percent in November. This was slower than the 4.9 percent posted in October 2023 and 8 percent recorded in November 2022. (Full story here: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/12/05/inflation-slows-to-4-1-in-november-psa/)
However, PSA data showed despite the slower headline inflation, certain commodities such as rice posted an inflation rate of 15.8 percent in November, higher than the 13.2 percent posted in October 2023 and the 3.1 percent posted in November 2022.
Rice, the food staple of Filipinos, has a weight of 8.87 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Income Households and 17.87 percent of the basket of goods for the Bottom 30 percent of Filipinos or the poorest in the country.
Based on the latest data, the three rice classes being monitored by PSA showed higher rates in November compared to both the October 2023 and November 2022 rates.
Regular milled rice prices increased to P46.73 per kilo in November 2023, higher than the P45.42 per kilo in October 2023 and P39.57 per kilo in November last year.
Well-milled rice, meanwhile, averaged P51.99 per kilo in November 2023. This was also higher than the average of P51 per kilo in October 2023 and P43.86 per kilo in November 2022.
Special rice also showed higher prices at an average of P61.47 per kilo. This is higher than the P60.95 per kilo in October 2023 and P53.53 per kilo in November 2022.
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