CEBU, Philippines – Otso Diretso senatorial bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said during a campaign stop at the Bogo City Public Market on Tuesday, April 9, that the cooling off of inflation this year was “pambobola.”
“Kasi yung binebenta ng economic managers, pambobola iyan eh (What the economic managers are selling, it’s fluff),” Roxas told reporters in an ambush interview.
“Sinasabi nila humupa ang inflation, pero inflation pa rin (They’re saying inflation has slowed down, but it’s still inflation),” the former interior secretary said.
“And that inflation, let’s say it’s around 3% — is on top of whatever inflation there was last year — and on top of whatever inflation was the previous year,” he added.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on April 5 that inflation eased further to 3.3% in March.
Inflation hit a 9-year-high of 6.7% nationally in October 2018, leveling up last year's average to 5.2%
Regional inflation in the Central Visayas hit 6.3% in August of 2018.
Roxas said despite the lower inflation marked in the first quarter of 2019, he is still in favor of suspending the excise taxes as part of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN), which some economists blame for the exacerbating the price of food and vegetables.
A market vendor im Bogo City told Roxas that chicken, for example, used to cost around P120-P130 per kilo, while it now goes for P150.
"Iyon ang totoong nararanasan ng ordinaryong tao (That's what ordinary people are experiencing)," Roxas said.
"Dito sa palengke makikita yung tunay na Pilipinas, 'di sa mga estatistka, at mga press release ng mga economic managers," (It is in the wet markets where you can see the real Philippine situation, not in the statistics and press releases of economic managers) he added.
The market in northern Cebu is the last of 3 planned visits in Roxas’ palengke campaign. He visited the Carbon Market in Cebu City on Monday morning, April 8, and another market Carcar City on Monday afternoon.
Roxas lost to current President Rodrigo Duterte in Cebu in 2016, but his running mate and current Vice President Leni Robredo won here against Duterte’s running mate Alan Peter Cayetano and Duterte ally Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña supported Roxas' presidential bid in 2016, but did not have any public or announced meetings with local officials during this campaign stop.
Roxas told Rappler on the sidelines that he had more time to linger and engage with people during this senatorial bid, compared to his 2016 campaign for president.
While most local officials in Cebu during that time were allied with the Liberal Party, the party of former President Benigno Aquino III, most switched alliances to Duterte’s PDP-Laban party shortly after Duterte’s win in 2016.