‘THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM?’: W. Visayas still has highest inflation rate in PHL for third straight month

High prices of fuel and electricity, among other factors, pushed the inflation rate in Western Visayas to levels higher than the national rate. (DG file photos)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) monthly update on inflation (increase in prices of goods and services) released on Tuesday, March 7, indicated that Western Visayas still has the highest inflation rate in the country as of February 2023.

The PSA’s Summary Inflation Report stated that the region posted 10.8 percent inflation rate as of last month, which is 0.5 percent higher than the January 2023 rate (10.3 percent), 0.3 percent higher than December 2022 (10.5 percent), and 7.5 percent higher a year ago (3.3 percent).

Despite slowing down by 0.9 percent to 14.2 percent in February from 15.1 percent in January, the commodity group of Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels was still responsible for the faster increase in prices in Region 6.

Other commodity groups also posted faster rates compared to January 2023:

–          Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (12.6 percent);

–          Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages (11.7 percent);

–          Restaurants and Accommodation Services (11.6 percent);

–          Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance (8.6 percent);

–          Personal Care, and Miscellaneous Goods and Services (7.2 percent);

–          Recreation, Sport and Culture (4.8 percent);

–          Clothing and Footwear (3.8 percent); and

–          Health (2.3 percent).

Decreases were noted in Transport (12.3 percent) and Information and Communication (2.4 percent), while Education Services remained steady at 0.4 percent.

Financial Services remained unchanged.

The slight rise in the regional inflation rate is in contrast with the national rate which slowed down to 8.6 percent from 8.7 percent in January 2022, but is still higher than 8.1 percent in December 2022.

The downtrend was attributed to the Transport commodity group, which slowed down by 2.1 percent from 11.1 in January to 9 percent in February while the rest of the commodity groups accelerated.

Zamboanga Peninsula and Davao Region both posted a 9.9 percent rate, followed by MIMAROPA (9 percent), Bicol Region (8.8 percent), Caraga (8.3 percent), and Central Visayas (7.4 percent), as regions with inflation rate increases.

Inflation slowed down in Central Luzon (9.3 percent), Ilocos Region (8.3 percent), CALABARZON (8.2 percent), Northern Mindanao (8.0 percent), Cagayan Valley (7.9 percent), BARMM (7.5 percent), Cordillera Administrative Region (7.1 percent), and Eastern Visayas (6.3 percent), while SOCCSKSARGEN retained its 7.4 percent inflation rate from last month.