Utilities, transport drag price hikes in W. Visayas  

Traditional and modernized jeeps make their rounds in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. Lower transportation and utility costs slowed down the uptick in prices of goods and services in Western Visayas in May 2023. (Francis Allan L. Angelo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Slower inflation rates in utilities and transport further decelerated the increase in prices of goods and services in Western Visayas, as indicated by data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority released on Tuesday, June 6.

From 8.2 percent in April, the regional inflation rate dropped by 1.1 percent to 7.1 percent in May 2023.

This is the fourth straight month that regional inflation slowed down from February (10.8 percent) and March (9.1 percent). But last month’s number is still higher compared to May 2022 (5.9 percent).

Slower price increases in Housing, Water, Electricity, and Gas and Other Fuels (HWEGOF); and Transportation were major factors in the trimmed regional inflation number.

HWEGOF decelerated by 1.8 percent, from 8.6 percent in April 2023 to 6.8 percent last month.

Transportation, on the other hand, sank down to 0.5 percent, by 4.8 percent from 5.7 percent in April.

Inflation rate for transportation sank to 0.5 percent in May 2023, from 5.7 percent in April.

The following commodity groups also posted slower rates in May against April 2023:

–          Restaurants and Accommodation Services (12.4 percent from 12.7 percent);

–          Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages (8.7 percent from 9.0 percent);

–          Clothing and Footwear (4.2 percent from 4.3 percent); and

–          Information and Communication (2.3 percent from 2.4 percent).

Increases were recorded in some commodity groups, including:

–          Health (2.9 percent from 2.3 percent);

–          Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance (9.8 percent from 9.3 percent);

–          Recreation, Sport, and Culture (5.4 percent from 5.1 percent); and

–          Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (13.0 percent from 12.9 percent).

Three commodity groups remained steady – Personal Care, and Miscellaneous Goods and Services (7.2 percent), Education Services (0.4 percent), and Financial Services (0.0 percent).

Despite the notable decreases in the past months, Western Visayas still has the second-highest inflation rate in the country, just after the MIMAROPA Region (7.2 percent), and higher than that of the National Capital Region (6.5 percent) and the average of all Areas Outside of the NCR (6.5 percent).

Other regions’ May inflation rates are: Central Luzon (6.7 percent), Davao Region (6.3 percent), CALABARZON Region (6.2 percent), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (6.1 percent), Bicol Region and Northern Mindanao (6.0 percent each), Zamboanga Peninsula (5.9 percent), Central Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Caraga Region (5.4 percent each),  Ilocos Region (5.2 percent), Cagayan Valley (4.4 percent), Eastern Visayas (4.2 percent), and Cordillera Administrative Region (3.9 percent).