Highlights of the Western Visayas inflation and the current efforts of the national government to mitigate the impacts of inflation was presented by NEDA Senior Economic Development Specialist Elaine Fernandez to the members of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC), Inc. during their General Assembly Meeting on February 24, 2023, at the Promenade Iloilo, Atrium Mall, Iloilo City.

Ms. Fernandez explained how Western Visayas buoyed investment confidence when its economy fully reopened, as seen in the return of domestic and foreign tourism and SME activities spurred by face-to-face classes pointing out, however, that while prospects for growth in the near term appear bright, the region still faces rapid inflation that is also experienced by most of the regions in the country.

“The January 2023 inflation rate of 10.3 in Western Visayas has been and may continue to be driven by a confluence of factors that we monitor and address. These include the continuing external geopolitical conflicts that raise the prices of energy, cereals, and fertilizers, as well as insufficient local food production due to African swine fever (ASF), avian influenza, and typhoons,” explained Fernandez on the cause of elevated inflation.

In her discussion of NEDAs report, Ms. Fernandez provided other factors that drove inflation upwards, such as the peso’s depreciation; increasing cost of food and energy imports; non-tariff barriers preventing timely importation whenever local production falls short of consumption; and spill-over of high energy prices on utilities and transportation.

She added that, to address inflation issues, NEDA recommends the need for targeted social support programs, effective public spending in the agricultural sector, and a special focus on energy and water to ensure the stability and sustainability of the region’s development.

Looking ahead in 2023, she highlighted the government’s plans for economic transformation. Chapter five of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) outlines strategies that are crucial in modernizing agriculture and agribusiness, with both the government and private sector working hand-in-hand to enhance the efficiency of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries production. She also highlighted the private sector’s crucial role in achieving the region’s and country’s development goals. IBC President, Mr. Emilio Diez, acknowledged the strong collaboration between private sector and government to improve the business environment of the Ilonggo Community.

The Iloilo Business Club, Inc. (IBC) is a non-stock, non-profit organization composed of business professionals and entrepreneurs working for the progress of Iloilo. The IBC has been in the forefront of encouraging dialogues on current issues and giving the public a practical perspective on the latest trends/updates in the business community (CPGaitana/NEDA6).