April 2, 2023

The increase in prices of food, transport, and housing utilities in the Cordillera continues to pose a challenge for development workers as it overrides the region’s gains in poverty alleviation and economic development as a whole.

National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera Senior Economic Development Specialist Freda Toyoken said this major contributor to inflation in the region in 2022 belongs to the basic needs that fall under the monthly bills of most Cordillerans.

 “The top contributors are basic needs. They are not wants so mas matindi ‘yung problema natin as development workers,” she said.

During the Dissemination Forum on CPI and 2022 Inflation recently, Philippine Statistics Authority-Cordillera Chief Statistical Specialist Aldrin Federico Bahit, Jr. said food, transport, and housing including electricity, gas, and other fuels are the major drivers of the 6.4 percent average inflation recorded in the region last year.

Ang average inflation ng Cordillera sa taong 2022 ay 6.4 percent kumpara noong 2021 na 3.9 percent ay napakalayo po at kung ikumpara pa natin sa 2020 na  two percent. Ito ay 4.4 percentage point increase from 2020 to 2022,” he said.

Bahit said food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed 32.9 percent to the 2022 average inflation in the region followed by transport with 31.8 percent and housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels with 20.8 percent.

The same commodity groups are also the contributors to the uptrend of inflation in the region in 2022.

Transport’s share to the uptrend is 56.9 percent; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels is at 26.5 percent; and food and non-alcoholic beverages at 11.4 percent.

Due to the increase in prices of goods particularly in the three major commodity groups, the purchasing power of the peso in the region last year dropped by five centavos as compared to 2021.

“‘Yung one peso noong 2018, ang katumbas na lang ay 87 centavos noong 2022. Bumaba ito ng limang sentimo mula noong 2021 na ang katumbas ng piso ay 92 centavos,” Bahit said.

With these effects of increase in prices of commodities, Toyoken emphasized the need to address inflation as it trickles down and affects the most vulnerable sectors of the region.

“This uncontrolled rise in prices reduces the value of household income. Iyong mabibili mo sana para sa pamilya ay kumokonti na lang at the same amount and it may result in higher poverty incidence later on,” she said. – Jamie Joie Malingan