Economic managers meet on Typhoon 'Ompong'

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — The country's economic managers had a closed door meeting with a senator on the possible impact of Typhoon Ondong. 

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had a closed-door meeting with Senator Loren Legarda on Friday afternoon.

Legarda chairs the Senate committee on finance and leads the hearings on the 2019 budget, which might need some realignment after the storm. 

"Yes, there will be changes," Legarda told reporters after the meeting.

"All the causes of inflation, especially food inflation will be addressed and that's the reason why I have this briefing. We will see whether the solutions to food inflation are being addressed in the current national expenditure program."

Diokno said that natural calamities like Typhoon Ompong trigger an effect on food prices. 

"Merong effect talaga yung major calamities sa price of vegetables, syempre perishable yun di ba," Diokno told reporters after the meeting. 

[Translation: Major calamities affect the prices of vegetables because they're perishable goods.]

Diokno said that the economic managers have noticed that the price of agricultural products, like chicken, have doubled. 

"Kaya ang pinaplano namin is magkaroon siguro ng direct selling ng chicken from farmgate derecho na para ma-cut mo yung middle man," Diokno said. 

[Translation: That's why we're planning to have direct selling of chicken from the farm to the (market) to cut the middle man.]

However, Dominguez said that there's no reason to panic as the country is not yet in a major economic crisis. 

"We're not in a major crisis. It might be serious problem for some people but the nation in general its not a major crisis," Dominguez told reporters outside of Legarda's office. 

"We have a lot of tools that are available to us," the Finance Secretary added. 

Economic managers expect inflation to taper off in the fourth quarter. 

The country is also expecting 4.6 million bags of imported rice and another million coming in at the end of the month, to flood the market of the staple. 

While prices are seen to stabilize soon, Legarda took note of the importance of the prepositioning of goods simultaneous with weather bureau warnings, and the prepositioning of health needs and hygiene kits before natural disasters hit.