MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Aquino administration remains focused in attaining inclusive growth in accordance with the development priorities of the government, a Malacanang official said Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. issued the statement in response to the recent survey conducted by research group Ibon Foundation, showing that many Filipinos struggle to pay for basic goods, such as food and medicine.
“The government remains focused in achieving inclusive growth by reducing poverty and increasing social protection in accordance with the Philippine Development Plan,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement.
“Concerned government agencies are continuously monitoring the movement of prices of basic commodities, and is taking decisive steps to protect the citizens’ purchasing power, especially the most vulnerable sectors of society,” he added.
Secretary Coloma said that the Aquino administration takes cognizance of the results of Ibon’s survey from January 16 to 24 with 1,500 respondents.
During the survey period, 54.8 percent of the respondents said they had difficulty in buying enough food in the past three months, while 53 percent had difficulty in buying medicine or paying for medical treatment.
Coloma, however, noted that in the 2014 national budget, the government allotted P87.1 billion for Universal Health Care, specifically preventive healthcare services and for the health insurance coverage of 14.7 million poor and near-poor families.
In addition, he said, P79 billion was also earmarked to ensure delivery of meaningful social protection services particularly under the expanded P62.6-billion Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.
Secretary Coloma also pointed out that the Ibon survey was conducted during the period when inflation had gone up to 4.2 percent, caused mainly by pressures exerted by global developments especially the tapering policies of the US Federal Reserve that affected the peso-dollar exchange rate.
“Our economic managers remain confident that inflation will be kept within the Development Budget Coordination Committee target ranging from three to five percent,” he said.
According to Ibon’s latest survey, many Filipinos have difficulty in spending for basic goods, such as food and medicine. The survey also showed that 43 percent respondents said that they had difficulty paying for transportation expenses. (MNS)