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‘Irresponsible’ to call rapid inflation ‘runaway,’ Diokno says

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by Xave Gregorio

Could we call inflation hitting a nine-year high last August at 6.4 percent, way above the government’s target, an example of “runaway inflation?” Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno says doing so is “irresponsible.”

“To me that’s irresponsible. Kasi runaway inflation means nobody’s in control. Parang runaway car, walang nagda-drive, walang in control. Ang runaway inflation is associated with hyperinflation,” Diokno said Friday (September 18) in a chance interview with reporters after meeting with Senator Loren Legarda.

To illustrate his point, Diokno pointed out that a 6.4 percent inflation rate is not as bad as it was during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos, when inflation clocked in at 50.3 percent in 1984.

He also pointed out that inflation during the term of former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos shot higher than the current inflation rate.

However, while inflation was faster in the past, the inflation rate has been speeding up for eight consecutive months and has surpassed the government’s upper target for six consecutive months.

The government’s inflation target is between two to four percent.

However, Diokno reiterated that inflation would stabilize in the fourth quarter of 2018, slowing down to two to four percent.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, food and non-alcoholic beverages hiked by 8.5 percent in August compared to their prices in July.