VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Andanar falsely downplays inflation figures, accuses media of ‘painting negative picture

Read this fact check in Filipino

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, downplaying the recent inflation figures, mishmashed his data and then blamed the media.

STATEMENT

Andanar in a Sept. 8 radio interview was asked to comment on the nine-year high 6.4 percent inflation rate recorded in August.

He said:

“Marami kasi ang lumalabas sa mga pahayagan, sa media na iyon nga 6.4, tapos iyong epekto na parang 6.4 iyong buong Enero hanggang Agosto. Pero kung talagang uh, iko-compute mo it’s 4.8. (Several reports in newspapers, in the media, show the 6.4 percent inflation rate covers January to August. But if you compute for it, it’s 4.8 percent for the past eight months if I’m not mistaken).”

Source: Radyo Pilipinas, Cabinet Report sa Teleradyo, Sept. 8, 2018, watch from 1:18:33 to 1:18:55

He added:

Nagko-conclude kaagad yung marami na 6.4 to paint a negative picture, a negative picture ng ekonomiya natin (Most people immediately conclude that the inflation rate is 6.4 to paint a negative picture of our economy).”

Source: Radyo Pilipinas, Cabinet Report sa Teleradyo, Sept. 8, 2018, watch from 1:19:07 to 1:19:18

FACT

Andanar’s statement is wrong; the two figures he mentioned represent different things, are both considered high, and were not misrepresented in media reports.

The 6.4 percent year-on-year figure compares the rise in prices in August 2017 and August 2018, while the 4.8 percent year-to-date figure measures inflation from the start of 2018 to present, in this case January to August.

Both figures are considered high as they have exceeded the government’s expectations, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas:

“The actual inflation print for August 2018 exceeds the high end of the BSP's forecast.”

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Inflation rises to 6.4 percent in August, Sept. 5, 2018.

The country’s economic managers themselves said the 4.8 percent year-to-date inflation rate reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has gone “beyond the upper-band” of the government’s target:

“This brings the year-to-date inflation rate to 4.8 percent, beyond the upper-band of the government’s inflation target of 2 to 4 percent, and slightly below the BSP’s revised full-year inflation forecast of 4.9 percent.”

Source: Department of Finance, Joint Statement on August 2018 Inflation, Sept. 5, 2018

Andanar is also wrong in saying the media erred in reporting inflation figures.

Reports published by the three most widely-read newspapers in the country echoed the PSA data and the economic managers’ statement on inflation:

Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Consumers groan as food prices surge, Sept. 6, 2018; The Philippine Star, Inflation surges to 6.4%, Sept. 6, 2018; Manila Bulletin, August inflation hits 6.4%, Sept. 6, 2018

Reports from the most popular online news websites published Sept. 5, the same day the PSA report came out, were also clear in labeling the year-on-year and year-to-date figures:

Sources: ABS-CBN News, Inflation zooms past forecasts as underemployment rises, Sept. 5, 2018; GMA News Online, Inflation hits 6.4% in August, a nine-year high, Sept. 5, 2018; Inquirer.net, Inflation hits new 9-year high of 6.4% in August, Sept. 5, 2018.

Andanar’s claim makes him the second Malacañang official to distort inflation figures, after Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo’s mixed up inflation rates and blamed it on “wrong headlines.”

Sources:

ABS-CBN News, Inflation zooms past forecasts as underemployment rises, Sept. 5, 2018

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Inflation rises to 6.4 percent in August, Sept. 5, 2018.

Department of Finance, Joint Statement on August 2018 Inflation, Sept. 5, 2018

GMA News Online, Inflation hits 6.4% in August, a nine-year high, Sept. 5, 2018

Inquirer.net, Inflation hits new 9-year high of 6.4% in August, Sept. 5, 2018.

Manila Bulletin, August inflation hits 6.4%, Sept. 6, 2018

Media Ownership Monitor Philippines

Philippine Daily Inquirer, Consumers groan as food prices surge, Sept. 6, 2018

The Philippine Star, Inflation surges to 6.4%, Sept. 6, 2018.


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


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