Sen. Risa Hontiveros. INQUIRER.NET PHOTO/CATHY MIRANDA
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s defeatist take on inflation was “unacceptable” as a lot of steps can still be done to tame the seemingly nonstop increase in prices of basic goods in the country.
“Kapag gusto, may paraan. Kapag ayaw, maraming dahilan,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang pahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na walang magagawa ang kanyang pamahalaan para tugunan ang problema ng taas-presyo sa ating bansa. Hindi ito totoo,” she added.
The opposition senator then suggested the following actions to level the inflation rate, which reached an over-nine-year-high of 6.7 percent in September:
1. Suspend and review the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law
2. Lower the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 10 percent
3. Progressive rice policies for the rice industry
4. Hasten the infrastructure program and ensure that it would generate more jobs
5. Increase the minimum wage of workers
6. Continue the roll-out of cash transfers to 10 million poorest Filipino families
Hontiveros also criticized Duterte for acting swiftly on illegal drug issues while being helpless on the country’s economic woes.
“Pero iba yata talaga ang prayoridad ni Pangulong Duterte. Kapag usapin ng patayan at paano dudurugin ang kanyang mga lehitimong kritiko at ang oposisyon, ang bilis kumilos ng buong makinarya ng gobyerno ni Pangulong Duterte,” she said.
“Ngunit kapag usapin na ng kabuhayan, taas presyo at ekonomiya, bukod sa makupad ang pagtugon ng gobyerno, ang bilis pang itaas ang puting bandila ng pagsuko,” the senator added.
On Wednesday, Duterte said he had already assembled all the talents and brilliant minds available in his administration to solve the increasing inflation rate — all to no avail.
“I have assembled all of the talents available… low-key but brilliant minds. ‘Yun ba namang inflation na ‘yan, kung sa mga utak na ‘yan hindi kaya, hindi talaga kaya eh,” he said in a speech in Malacañang.
“Wala, wala tayong magawa kasi… trade balance is not really even. We pay more buying outside than we export,” he also said. /kga
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