PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved the extension of the temporary modification of rates of import duty on various products amid the bid to address supply issues and arrest inflation.

During the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) board meeting on Friday, December 16, Marcos, who chairs the board, approved the extension of effectivity of Executive Order (EO) 171 until December 31, 2023.

EO 171, which was issued by former President Rodrigo Duterte, is set to expire on December 31, 2022.

It temporarily reduces the Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates on meat of swine, including the fresh, chilled, or frozen; maize; rice; and coal to mitigate and stabilize the impact of inflationary pressures as a result of the Ukraine-Russia crisis, expand supply sources, and reduce the prices of key commodities.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the extension will “provide relief to poor and vulnerable segments of the Filipino population whose welfare is reduced because of high inflation.”

“Through this policy, we shall augment our domestic food supplies, diversify our sources of food staples, and temper inflationary pressures arising from supply constraints and rising international prices of production inputs due to external conflict,” he said.

The reduced rates of duty on the following commodities: meat of swine, fresh, chilled, or frozen at 15 percent (in-quota) and 25 percent (out-quota); corn at 5 percent (in-quota) and 15 percent (out-quota); rice at 35 percent (in-quota and out-quota); and coal at zero duty.

Amid a subdued global economic outlook in 2023, Balisacan anticipates favorable economic conditions for the Philippines in the near term.

Balisacan said these include the expected reopening of China’s economy, moderating global oil prices, easing of aggressive monetary policy tightening, and sustained remittance inflows.

“We are determined to steer the Philippine economy to meet the 6.0 percent to 7.0 percent economic growth target for 2023, as set by the Neda Board’s Development Budget Coordination Committee or DBCC,” he said.

The PSA reported earlier that the country’s inflation rate skyrocketed to eight percent in October, the highest since November 2008.

It exceeds the administration’s projected range of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent inflation for the entire 2022.

Inflation is the rate of the increase of prices of consumer goods and services at a certain period of time. (SunStar Philippines)