By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter
HOUSE Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday urged the government’s economic managers to work “faster” in addressing inflation.
“Gusto ko lang ipahayag ay yung mga economic managers naman natin ay ginagawa naman nila kung anong magagawa nila pero sana naman ay mas mabilis ang pagkilos,” Speaker Arroyo said in an interview with reporters during her medical mission in Baesa, Quezon City. (I just want to say that economic managers are doing what they can, but I just hope they act on this faster.)
When asked whether the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law should be suspended, Ms. Arroyo argued that tax reforms benefit the economy in the long term and shouldn’t be an answer to inflation.
“Ang epekto ng mga buwis sa ekonomiya, ang magandang effect ay pangmatagalan, so kung wala tayong ganun, wala tayong inprastraktura… ‘Yung inflation ay problema ng kasalukuyan. May mga hakbang para sagutin ang mga problema ng kasalukuyan,” Ms. Arroyo said. (The positive effect of imposing taxes to the economy will be felt in the long term, so if we don’t have that we won’t have infrastructure….Inflation is a problem of the present. There are ways to address that.)
“At ang aking hiling naman sa ating economic managers ay actually tama naman ang paraan more or less, pero sana mas mabilis ang implementasyon lalo na doon sa araw na araw na problema gaya ng mga presyo ng bilihin,” she added. (My request to the economic managers is that while they are actually taking more or less the right steps, I hope they implement it faster especially on basic needs, such as prices of goods.)
Ms. Arroyo also emphasized the need to increase the budget of the Department of Agriculture to address inflation: “Isa ngang dahilan kung bakit nagtataasan ang mga presyo ay presyo ng pagkain mismo dahil nagkukulang ang ating produksyon.” (Among the reasons why prices are increasing is the price of food itself, because production is insufficient.)
The statement followed the pronouncement of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol that legislators at the House of Representatives intend to increase the P55-billion budget of the Department by P20 billion.
“So kung talagang gusto natin ng pangmatagalang solusyon sa problem ng inflation, ayusin natin ang agrikultura,” she also said. (So if we really want a long term solution to inflation, we need to improve agriculture.)
Ms. Arroyo recalled that during her term as President, appropriation for the agriculture sector was 6% of the total budget, which was reduced to 1% after she stepped down.