The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Palawan and Puerto Princesa City reported a headline inflation rate of 4.1% and 4.0%, respectively, for May 2024, with the commodity groups of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels, as well as food and non-alcoholic beverages, being the biggest contributors to the current rate.

Evelyn Apellido, Supervising Statistical Specialist for the PSA Office in Palawan, noted that the extreme heat’s effects influenced the rate of increase and decrease in prices across all commodity groups in the province and city, even those that rarely register a larger percent share in the inflation rate in previous months.

In Palawan, the commodity group of furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance ranked as the third biggest contributor to the acceleration in the May 2024 inflation rate. According to Apellido, this commodity group’s sudden demand in the provincial market was due to the change in prices for pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides caused by the extreme heat wave in Southeast Asia from April to May.

“Tumaas siya kasi medyo hindi maganda ang lagay ng ating mga harvest, so kailangan nandiyan ang kanilang mga pampataba. Yun ang dahilan kung bakit napansin natin ang presyo, tumatakbo ito sa supply and demand,” she said.

Aside from that, the commodity group of food and non-alcoholic beverages, while consistently volatile in all inflation reports, had a recent spike in seafood prices, notably contributing 3.2% percentage share for the food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group in Puerto Princesa.

Apellido noted that the prices of pelagic fish increased in the market as fishermen spent shorter times and stayed closer to the shore due to the extreme heat.

Puerto Princesa had a slightly decelerated headline rate compared to April 2024. This was also reflected in May 2024’s food inflation at 5.7%, compared to April’s 5.9%.

Vegetables and tubers were more affected by the heat than other food groups within the food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group, as these vegetables were more likely to wither under the hot temperatures and grow to uneven sizes.

However, Apellido noted that May was the month of transition for the season and expressed her hopes that the inflation rate for June would reflect a decrease in prices instead of increases.

“Base sa mga nakaraan, trend talaga. Pag ang mga tubig [naapektuhan], unang-una ang ating mga pananim. Ganoon din sa dagat na ‘di rin ganun kadami [ang mahuhuli]. Pero pag maganda na yung panahon, papasok na yung tag-ulan, gaganda na yung presyo sa bilihin,” she said.

Another indication of the seasonal transition can be found in Puerto Princesa City, as the commodity group of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels were the main source of inflation deceleration in the city, contributing a 64.3% share.

This, according to Apellido, reflected the lessening use of electrical equipment such as electric fans or air conditioning units in May as the weather cooled down.

Apellido reminded citizens that inflation did not calculate the actual value increase and decrease of prices, but rather the rate at which these prices increase and decrease, which reflected supply and demand, and not the true market value of said commodity groups.