Duterte blames oil price hikes for inflation


President Rodrigo Duterte cited the rising oil prices as the “number one culprit” for the Philippines’ all-time high inflation rate, during his speech at the Asia Pacific Association Gastroenterology (APAGE) forum.

“And that is one of the reasons, it’s not an excuse. I admit there is inflation. But it’s really – the number one culprit is price of oil,” he said.

After seven consecutive weeks of shifting prices, fuel charges reached as high as P57 per liter on September 17.

“It used to be 43. Now it’s 100 per barrel. It’s more than 100 per barrel now. And I mean, you go home, you use the car and everything, your aircon, it’s oil. Light, it’s oil. Everything is oil,” Duterte added.

According to the Department of Energy’s latest data, the Philippines imports oil that cost $9.89 billion in 2017. Duterte compared the number of source of oil to neighboring countries and complained about the lack of natural sources of oil in the country.

“God did not give it to us. He gave it to Indonesia, lots of it to Malaysia and Brunei. What’s our sin? What…Why God made it that way, I really do not know.”

Inflation rate reached 6.4 percent last month, which is the highest level of inflation recorded in almost a decade.

Duterte also blamed the United States’ decision to impose higher interest rates as a contributing factor to the inflation rate in the country.

“When America raised the interest, all prices went up,” he said upon arrival from his trip to Jordan and Israel earlier this month.

Recent record of inflation rate surpassed the Department of Finance’s and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ forecast of 5.9 percent.

The National Capital Region experienced higher inflation, closing at seven percent. It was attributed to higher prices of goods, household expenses, transportation, and recreational activities.

Inflation rates outside of NCR are experienced at different levels.

Inflation rate in Bicol is at nine percent; ARMM at 8.1 percent; Soccskargen at 7.9 percent; Western Visayas at 7.4 percent; Cagayan Valley and Davao Region at 7.1 percent; Ilocos Region at 6.8 percent; Zamboanga Peninsula at 6.4 percent; Central Visayas at 6.3 percent; Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Calabarzon at 6.1 percent; CARAGA at 4.8 percent; Mimaropa at 4.5 percent; Cordillera Administrative Region at 4.1 percent; and the lowest Central Luzon at 3.6 percent.