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Gatchalian urges gov’t to assist farmers affected by El Niño 

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Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — As the inflation rate continued to ease, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the government on Tuesday to provide economic assistance to farmers affected by the dry spell caused by El Niño phenomenon.

Gatchalian said the assistance will ensure food security in the country and would further manage the country’s inflation.

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“The government should extend economic assistance to farmers affected by the El Niño to ensure food security in the country in the coming months and manage the country’s inflation,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

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He noted the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier report that at least 164,672 farmers in four provinces and 24 towns are affected by the dry spell and P5-billion worth of agricultural crops were damaged.

Despite the agricultural damage and the hikes in fuel prices, the senator pointed  out that the inflation rate has eased further to 3.3 percent from  3.8 percent  in February.

“The latest inflation rate is much lower than our own estimates, which we pegged at around 3.7 percent, and better than the median rate forecast of economists, which is around 3.5 percent,” Gatchalian  said.

This low inflation rate, he said, will provide more flexibility to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to make adjustments on the country’s policy rates to spur economic growth. /jpv

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