Why Mimaropa's inflation rate remains higher than Philippine average

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine inflation slowed down to 1.7% in August 2019, the slowest since October 2016. While it has fallen much to the relief of the government's economic managers, one particular region seems to not be following the downtrend: Mimaropa.

Mimaropa's inflation rate in August was at 4.6%. Looking at previous months, the region even experienced upticks. In June, when most regions registered slower inflation, Mimaropa inched up to 5.2%.

Of the provinces in Mimaropa, Palawan registered the highest inflation rate (4.8%), followed by Oriental Mindoro (4.7%), Marinduque (4.6%), Romblon (4.2%), and Occidental Mindoro (3.9%). (READ: FAST FACTS: What you should know about Palawan)

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, it can be seen that food and non-alcoholic beverages – the index which is weighted the heaviest – is not the culprit behind stubbornly high inflation in the region.

Food inflation is at 1.5%, while rice prices deflated to -1.1%. Only corn (19.6%),  fruits (14.9%), and cocoa (10.6%) registered double-digit growths.

Mimaropa's high inflation can be attributed mostly to alcohol and tobacco, costs for recreational activities, and transport.

The region, famous for its beaches, had a 24.9% inflation rate for recreational and sporting activities in August.

Alcohol and tobacco, commodities associated with leisure activities, leaped to 28.2%.

Travel by sea or inland waterways was at 21.4%.

Rent in Mimaropa rose by 10.9%.

Rappler also found that medical expenses are quite pricey in the region.

Medical services increased by 15.6%, while hospital expenses grew by 15.4%. Outpatient services was at 14.3%. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.