Inflation in Central Mindanao hits the roof


GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 May) — Prices of goods in Central Mindanao have averaged 10.8 percent in April, the highest inflation rate ever recorded, officials said.

Herlita G. Caraan, National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB) chief for Central Mindanao, stressed it was the first time ever inflation rate breached the double-digit figure. During the same time last year, inflation was only between 2 and 4 percent.

Caraan noted that the March inflation rate was 7.4 percent. The April figure, thus, was 3.4 percentage points higher than the previous month.

The statistics office released the figures amid strong demands for higher wages due to the rising prices of food and petroleum products.

Ma. Gloria A. Tango, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said the regional wage board has recommended salary adjustment for minimum wage earners. As to how much, she said this will be determined after public hearings set on May 20 in Kidapawan City and May 21 in General Santos City.

The current P229.50 daily minimum wage rate in the region took effect October 8 last year.

The NSCB registered higher inflation rates compared to March levels. Food, beverages and tobacco registered the highest inflation at 13.9 percent from 8.4 percent in March. The increase was mainly triggered by increases in the prices of grains, flour-based food products, and on fish and meat products.

Fuel, light and water registered a 9.6-percent inflation behind the series of price increases in petroleum products. It was 8.1 percent last March.

Footwear and clothing apparel prices also increased by 6.7 percent in April, two percentage points higher compared to March.

Rice, too, increased by 23.8 percent in April, three times more than what it was in March. This despite the fact that Central Mindanao is the leading rice producer in Mindanao.

Corn prices surged to 19.9 percent in April, the third highest all over the country, just behind Central Visayas (30.7 percent) and Davao Region (21.1 percent). In March, inflation for corn was posted at 11.3 percent.

Fish, another major produce of the region, also registered a double-digit inflation in April at 10 percent. up 2.6 percent since March.

The national inflation data in April was recorded at 8.3 percent, the highest in three years. It was 8.5 percent in May 2005.

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