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Palace: There might be ‘good news’ on Labor Day

April 26, 2011 5:07pm
President Benigno Aquino III may announce some good news to the public on Labor Day if the government's economic managers finalize their recommended actions on how to cushion the impact of oil price hikes on key sectors.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said some of the Cabinet officials "are firming up recommendations" to curb the gradual ascent of some of the commodity prices. He cited Aquino's fuel subsidy program — "Pantawid Pasada" —as one of the means to cushion the impact of rising prices of fuel products.

Lacierda, however, kept his lips sealed when asked if Aquino would announce a wage hike on May 1. He only said Malacañang will wait for the decision of the wage board before announcing anything regarding wages.

At present, wage-hike petitions are pending before the National Wage and Productivity Commission. Under deliberation are P75 and P100 increase for workers in Metro Manila and in Regions 7 and 10, respectively.

Looming crisis?

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank in a statement said the "fast and persistent" increases in the cost of many Asian food staples since the middle of last year, coupled with crude oil reaching a 31-month high in March, are serious setback for the region.

In the short term, the pattern of higher and more volatile food prices is likely to continue, the ADB said.

"Adding to this are structural and cyclical factors that were at play during the 2007 to 2008 crisis including rising demand for food from more populous and wealthier developing countries, competing uses for food grains, shrinking available agricultural land, and stagnant or declining crop yields," ADB said.

The multilateral bank added that to avert the looming crisis, countries are encouraged to refrain from imposing export bans on food items while strengthening social safety nets.

"Efforts to stabilize food production should take center stage, with greater investments in agricultural infrastructure to increase crop production and expand storage facilities, to better ensure grain produce is not wasted," it said.

Asian governments have already taken many short-term measures to cushion the harsh impacts of food price inflation, including measures to stabilize prices.

However, rising demand for food from developing Asia and low food productivity mean policymakers must also focus on long-term solutions to avert a future crisis, the ADB said. - Jesse Edep/KBK, GMA News
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