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Philippines Sees Economic Improvement as Inflation Rate DropsMamasapano Farmers See Economic Revival in Post-Conflict Transformation

MANILA — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced on Tuesday the government's ongoing efforts to tackle economic challenges and maintain the country's growth trajectory, highlighting the significant reduction in commodity prices as a positive development.

According to Philippines News Agency, the headline inflation rate in January 2024 fell to 2.78 percent, marking the lowest rate since the 2.3 percent recorded in October 2020.

"We are pleased to announce a significant slowdown in inflation for January 2024," President Marcos stated. He expressed the government's dedication to reducing the financial burden on citizens, pointing to recent initiatives such as electricity bill discounts for low-income households as evidence of this commitment.

The inflation rate for January 2024 represents a decrease from December 2023's 3.9 percent and a significant drop from the 8.7 percent inflation rate in January 2023. President Marcos attributed this deceleration in inflation primarily to a 3.3 percent decrease in food inflation from the previous month's 5.5 percent. He emphasized that the government's proactive measures, including the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan and the reactivation of Task Force El Niño, have been instrumental in this downward trend.

Further, President Marcos underscored the importance of strategic partnerships, such as the agreement with Vietnam for rice supplies, which enable further imports of key food commodities. These steps, he noted, are vital for ensuring the country's continued economic progress.

The President also urged the public to support the government's efforts to overcome economic challenges, envisioning a "Bagong Pilipinas" (New Philippines) with a brighter future for all. In a related development, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman remarked that the latest inflation data reflect the effectiveness of the government's economic policies, despite facing global economic pressures and the impacts of climate change.

MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao del Sur - In the town of Mamasapano, once marred by conflict, a significant transformation is underway as it emerges as a burgeoning rice zone. Farmers in this area are now earning double for their palay, or unhusked rice, marking a notable shift in their economic fortunes under the Bagong Pilipinas initiative of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

According to Philippines News Agency, the Al-Rahman Farmers MPC FARM, a small farmers' cooperative, has launched efforts to bolster the President's food security program. The BTA serves as the provisional lawmaking body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The farmers' group is receiving support from the Army's 601st Infantry Brigade and the 6th Civil-Military Battalion, both under the 6th Infantry Division in Central Mindanao.

Ambolodto highlighted the progress in Mamasapano, an area once known for its involvement in the SPMS box conflict zone, which includes Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano, and Datu Salibo. The village of Tukanalipao in Mamasapano was notably the site of a deadly encounter between police forces and Moro extremists on January 25, 2015. Less than a decade following this tragic event, Mamasapano has evolved into one of the top rice-producing towns in the province. Rice farmers are now achieving more than PHP22 per kilogram for palay, which is significantly higher than the previous rate of PHP13 per kilo.

"Famers in Mamasapano used to earn only PHP65,000 per hectare at PHP13 per kilogram and 5 metric tons (MT). Now at PHP22 per kilogram and 11.3 MT, one hectare can earn PHP248,000 or a PHP183,000 improvement," Ambolodto stated. He also noted that in September last year, Mamasapano farmers exceeded the Department of Agriculture's 2025 palay harvest target by achieving 9.3 MT per hectare, which is 86 percent more than the target.

The success in rice production allows local farmer cooperatives, like the Al-Rahman Cooperative, to offer rice at reduced prices to their members, further contributing to food security and economic stability within the community. Farmer Kagui Mustapha from Tukanalipao shared that support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) and BARMM has enhanced rice productivity by providing post-harvest facilities, improved infrastructure, and increased output.

The broader impact of these agricultural advancements is evident in the Philippines' record palay harvest of 20 million metric tons in 2023, aligning with the administration's goal to bolster Filipino agriculture and reduce rice imports. The BARMM government, under Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, has expressed strong support for President Marcos's Bagong Pilipinas campaign, emphasizing unity, transformation, and the protection of peace process gains.