Palawan is experiencing a significant inflation rate of 9.0 percent in March due to increased demand during the off-season farming and tourism recovery, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Palawan.

This is an increase from February’s 8.7 percent and is almost twice the March 2022 record of 5.4 percent. The acceleration was driven by the food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group, which increased by 12.6 percent and accounted for 65.3 percent of the trend. The price increase was observed in agricultural products such as cereals and cereal products, fish and other seafood, and milk, other dairy products, and eggs.

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco followed at 9.9 percent from products of tobacco, spirits and liquors, and beer. The third contributor was the group of restaurants and accommodation services at 8.5 percent.

Evelyn Apellido, supervising statistical specialist of the Palawan PSA, explained that the acceleration was caused by off-season harvest and tourism recovery, which increased demand and led to a rise in inflation.

“When our food and non-alcoholic beverages are high, meaning to say inflation is high. This includes rice, our farmers—they are struggling, so the supply is insufficient. In tourism, that’s why it increased—I noticed that we have many local and foreign tourists again,” she said.

In contrast to the rate of the province, the city of Puerto Princesa showed a deceleration at 5.9 percent from 7.5 percent in February. It is almost close to the March 2022 rate of 5.2 percent.

The sources of deceleration were commodity groups of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 8.5 percent, with the largest share of the trend at 60.8 percent. Lower prices were observed in cereals and cereal products, vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas, and pulses, as well as meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals.

“Usually, their (from other towns) catch is also delivered to Puerto Princesa, so the supply of fish here is sufficient,” Apellido said.

Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels followed at -0.6 percent, and transport at 3.8 percent. The oil price surge was not felt in the city during the month of March as a result of a series of price rollbacks by oil companies, she explained.

Observing the current trend of inflation, the purchasing power of the peso in Palawan is at 0.80, while Puerto Princesa is at 0.83.

Palawan is one of the provinces in the region with the highest inflation rate from February 2023 record, along with Occidental Mindoro at 9.3 percent from 8.7 and Romblon at 7.0 from 6.7 percent. In contrast, the city of Puerto Princesa has the lowest inflation rate in the region.