UNITEAM senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista on Friday appealed to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to help keep inflation rates in check as the impact of the war in Ukraine is making it tougher for Filipinos still recovering from the disastrous economic effects of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Prices of goods will rise, the peso will weaken,” said Bautista on the impact of the possible rise in interest rates.
“We will lose the chance to buy, import food for our people,” said Bautista, who is running on a platform of “Internet reform, Livelihood for all and Youth development” (ILY) and “Pagkain para sa Pamilyang Pilipino”.
He said an impending increase in rates by the US Federal Reserve is sure to affect rates in the Philippines too and impact the prices of goods.
Bautista said the BSP should try to keep inflation rates between 3% and 4% to lessen the impact of the US Fed rate hikes on Philippine consumers.
“If inflation exceeds 4% and reaches 7% every month that would be a heavy burden on our people,” said the three-term mayor of Quezon City. “Our consumers will have a tougher time.”
Earlier last week, at least four international economic think tanks – Goldman Sachs, Singapore’s UOB, Capital Economics, and Pantheon Macroeconomics warned that the Philippines’ inflation risk will be intensifying in the coming months.
Goldman Sachs said in a report that inflation was likely to rise above 4%, which would prompt the BSP to maintain its low-interest rates of 2% that were put in place during the pandemic.
“Our people are not even fully recovering from the impact of the pandemic,” said Bautista. “The BSP should help tame inflation as much as it can,” he added.
The Philippines entered into its worst recession since World War 2 last year as a result of pandemic restrictions.