The resurgence of face-to-face classes and the uptick in fuel prices were identified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as key factors behind the August increase in local inflation.
Maria Lalaine Rodriguez, the chief statistical specialist at the local PSA, stated that inflation in Palawan increased from 5.4% in July to 5.9% in August, while in the city, it rose from 2.9% to 3.3% over the same time frame.
In both Palawan and Puerto Princesa, transportation was the leading factor behind the rapidly rising inflation rate, accounting for 88.6% of the trend in the city and 75.1% in the province.
The transportation costs that were calculated encompassed expenses related to fuel, land-based transportation (including tricycles and multicabs), as well as sea-based transportation.
Rodriguez claimed that the annual trend of classes starting was a factor in the inflation rate and that this was also the reason why education services were the third-largest contributor to the inflation in August 2023 in both Puerto Princesa and Palawan.
The PSA also observed an increase in sales of clothing and footwear, with an inflation rate of 7.8% compared to August 2022. This category includes tailoring services and personal care items and services, with a 6.8% inflation rate. Personal care items encompass products like hair and makeup products, as well as grooming products.
In Puerto Princesa, there was a decrease in the inflation rate for food commodities, which was at 1.8% in August, down from 2.1% in July 2023. Although restaurant and lodging prices remained unchanged from July to August, they contributed significantly to the city’s inflation rate, accounting for 25.7% of the total.
On the other hand, Palawan experienced an acceleration in the inflation rate for food, rising from 8.0% in July to 8.2% in August. The most significant price increases were observed in fish and other seafood, vegetables, and fruits, largely due to off-season availability coinciding with the onset of the rains.
Rodriguez explained that the recent price caps on rice and other grain products would not be reflected in the PSA’s inflation reports and summaries until September.
She further emphasized that fuel played a central role in August’s inflation, as fuel price fluctuations significantly impacted transportation costs, which in turn affected the prices of goods and commodities.