For the second straight month, there was an uptick in the country’s inflation rate as the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that it soared to 6.1 percent in September 2023, surpassing the 5.3 percent inflation rate tallied in August.

This increase in headline inflation in September was primarily driven by a higher year-on-year rise in food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased to 9.7 percent from 8.1 percent, the PSA said.

The main contributors to this rise were the faster price increases in cereal and cereal products, with an inflation rate of 14.1 percent (from 8.3 percent in August) and meat at 1.3 percent (from -0.1 percent in August).

Inflation for rice soared from 8.7 percent to 17.9 percent, while the transport index saw an inflation rate increase from 0.2 percent to 1.2 percent.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile items like oil and food, decreased to 5.9 percent from 6.1 percent in August.

National Economic and Development Authority chief Arsenio Balisacan said the government would provide “targeted assistance” to vulnerable sectors.

“The government is committed to providing targeted assistance to affected vulnerable segments of the population while food prices remain elevated,” he said in a statement.

Malacañang also expects rice prices to reduce due to the onset of the harvest season.

“[O]ur economic managers anticipate a moderation in rice prices, as local production increases due to the onset of the harvest season and the entry of rice imports previously ordered. This will further alleviate the burden on our citizens,” it said in a release. John Ezekiel J. Hirro