An increase in fisheries and agriculture production in April has slowed down inflation in both Palawan province including Puerto Princesa, a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) noted.
In Palawan, the inflation rate decreased from 9.0 percent in March to 6.9 percent in April, which is close to the 6.6 percent rate in April 2022. Puerto Princesa’s inflation rate also dropped from 5.9 percent in March to 4.6 percent in April, which is lower than the April 2022 data of 5.7 percent.
The decline in inflation was primarily due to the food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group, which saw rates of 9.4 percent in Palawan and 5.2 percent in Puerto Princesa.
Chief Statistical Specialist Maria Lalaine Rodriguez explained that the increase in harvest was due to the lifting of the closed fishing season for live fish by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and for round scad or galunggong by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“Ang PCSD, ni-lift na nila ang ban sa high value fish, nakatulong yon—ina-allow na uli ang ating commercial fishers na manghuli ng galunggong. In short, abundant ang supply natin kaya malaking impact yon,” she said.
The deceleration in inflation was also attributed to the abundant supply of agricultural products, such as unhusked rice or palay from the last cropping season, in addition to the abundance of fish and other seafood, vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses, as well as meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals in Palawan and Puerto Princesa.
Rodriguez said the likelihood of El Niño occurring by June or July, however, could potentially increase prices in the upcoming months.
“It can, kukunti ang ating supply so tataas talaga. Yong law of supply and demand, kapag kaunti, tataas ang presyo. Na-experience talaga natin sa asukal, sa sibuyas, may impact talaga siya,” she said.
The other commodity groups that contributed significantly to the deceleration of the inflation rate for Palawan were transport at 2.3 percent and restaurant and accommodation services at 9.7 percent.
Only two commodity groups, alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 11.8 percent and recreation, sports, and culture at 12.4 percent, showed higher inflation in Palawan. Rodriguez explained that there is a possibility that the demand for tourism activities is connected to the rates of these two groups.
In Puerto Princesa, the other contributing commodity groups were housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels at 1.6 percent, followed by transport at -0.2 percent.
Rodriguez explained that the slowdown in the rate of transportation, particularly in passenger air transport, was due to regulated airfare. She observed that passengers may have availed of lower prices during the month of April, resulting in a stable rate.
The regulated fare in tricycles, despite fuel price movements, also contributed to the slow inflation of the transport commodity group.
The region also showed deceleration, at 7.8 percent from 8.8 percent in March. The April 2023 rate is still higher than the 4.1 percent recorded in April 2022.
Palawan has the lowest inflation rate, while Puerto Princesa has the second-lowest inflation rate. On the other hand, Oriental Mindoro has the highest inflation rate in MIMAROPA, which is recorded at 9.6 percent.
“Daanan kasi ang Oriental Mindoro kaya mabilis ang turnover of commodities nila, mabilis din sila mag-replenish,” she explained.