Palace monitors prices of goods, utilities

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Malacañang over the weekend announced that it is monitoring movements in the prices of utilities and basic commodities to prevent unwarranted hikes in the cost of basic goods.

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According to Presidential Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., the Cabinet’s economic cluster has been tasked by President Benigno Aquino 3rd to do the monitoring and to act promptly to avert adverse price changes.

“The economic cluster is closely monitoring price movements to ensure that the effects of these price movements do not create significant negative consequences on our people,” Coloma has assured.

He explained that higher costs of basic goods would be an additional burden for consumers.

The economic cluster is particularly on the watch for movements in fares and electricity rates. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima heads this cluster. His members include the secretaries of the National Economic Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Energy, Department of Science and Technology and Department of Tourism.

“Those possible effects on the prices of goods, including fare and power, are thoroughly being monitored by the economic cluster to immediately lay out actions that would prevent it to cause the public to be anxious [because of the]additional burden,” Coloma explained.

The Palace official also assured that the public is somehow protected from runaway prices because “the biggest chunk of the national budget for 2014 is for social welfare and development.”

He explained that these services include “social safety nets” that would benefit the “lower economic classes” that comprise the majority of the population.

“Our budget is focused on that to ensure that our people would hurdle any challenge that confronts them,” Coloma pointed out.

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