Amid high inflation rates, PSA urges wise spending

Buyers haggle with vendors at the Jaro Public Market. (Photo by Rjay Zuriaga Castor)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

With the upward trend in the prices of goods and services in the region since the start of the year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reminded the public to be wise in managing their finances.

“Strategize your spending. Prioritize the most important things you need to purchase. Perhaps you can reduce the volume of your usual purchases or find alternatives so your budget could cope with the rising cost of goods,” PSA Statistical Specialist II Miguel Gallego II said in a press conference on Thursday, May 16.

Gallego also encouraged the public to practice backyard farming to reduce market expenses.

The PSA reported that the region’s headline inflation has increased for four consecutive months, reaching 4.1 percent in April 2024 from 3.1 percent in the previous month.

However, it noted that the April inflation rate this year is lower than the 8.2 percent recorded in the same month last year.

The PSA reported that the increase in the region’s inflation rate was primarily driven by higher annual growth in the index of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which reached 7.3 percent in April 2024, up from 5.5 percent the previous month.

The PSA also reported that lower inflation rates were observed in meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals, which decreased to 12.5 percent in April from 12.7 percent in March.

“This possibly means that production is improving […] In our pork products that greatly affect prices, maybe in the later month of April, there is an improvement in production,” said Gallego.

He added that the decrease in meat product inflation could also be due to shipments from neighboring provinces affecting retail pork prices.

For instance, Gallego noted the market retail prices of meat with bones were P363.07 per kilo in March but dipped to P360.14 per kilo in April.

He also highlighted that first-quarter of 2024 data showed a 53.21 percent decrease in pork production compared to the same period last year.

“Last year was the time we were battered by African swine fever, which depleted our swine production inventory and significantly increased the prices of hog products,” he added.


The continuing increase in prices of goods is taking a toll on consumers.

Nerissa, a resident of Lapaz and a minimum wage earner, said she has observed an additional P200 to her usual budget of P1,000 when purchasing goods for two days’ consumption since January this year.

“Tama na gid kamahal ka mga balaklon. Nagagamay na akon nga ginabakal sa usual kay kis-a kulang ang budget. May ara man nga ginadugangan ko ang akon minimum nga budget kung mang grocery ako,” she told Daily Guardian.

[Prices are really high. I buy less than usual because sometimes the budget isn’t enough. I even add to my minimum budget when grocery shopping.]

Lito Jardeleza, a carinderia owner in the Jaro district, said the rising cost of ingredients is causing a strain on his daily operations and affecting his profitability.

“Kamahal na ka mga panakot nga mabakal sa tienda kag tungod sini kinahanglan ko man magdugang presyo sa akon ginabaligya. Kis-a gamay na lang ang nagabakal kay tungod namahalan sila,” he remarked.

[Ingredients are expensive at the market, so I have to raise my selling prices. Sometimes, fewer customers buy because they find it too costly.]

Jardeleza is hoping that the government will find a solution to reduce prices to pre-pandemic levels.

The PSA reported that prices of goods and services in Western Visayas have risen by 28.1 percent on average from the base year 2018 to April 2024.

To purchase the same basket of goods and services that cost P100 in 2018, consumers now need an additional P28.10 in April 2024.


While it stands as the area in the region to observe a decrease in its inflation rate, the island province of Guimaras still has the highest inflation rate in the region.

Guimaras’ inflation fell from 7.2 percent in March to 6.8 percent in April.

The PSA reported that five of the six provinces in Western Visayas recorded increases in their inflation rates in the previous month.

Inflation in Antique is at 6.7 percent, Aklan is at 4.9 percent, Negros Occidental has 4.4 percent, while Iloilo and Capiz both have a 3.9 percent inflation rate.

The two highly urbanized cities in the region also saw upward trends in their inflation rates, with Iloilo City rising from 0.7 percent in March 2024 to 0.8 percent in April, and Bacolod City’s rate increasing from 3.3 percent to 3.9 percent.