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Inflation eases further, tourism investment pouring in Bicol

By US News Agency / Asian

Bicol Region’s annual inflation rate slipped further in August, chipping off 0.1 percentage point from the level recorded in the previous month.

The year-on-year change was placed at 3.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the national average. The rate, however, is much faster than the 1.6 percent inflation rate registered the same period of 2009.

Among the regions of the country, inflation in ARMM was highest at 6.0 percent while Regions I (Ilocos) and VIII (Eastern Visayas) recorded the lowest at 2.5 percent.

The continuous drop in the inflation rate of the Fuel, Light and Water commodity group resulted in the slow down of the overall inflation.

The rate in the Fuel, Light and Water commodity group shrunk by 1.3 percentage points. The rate for the Services group went down by 0.4 percentage point while that for the Clothing commodity group slipped by 0.1 percentage point.

Inflation rates in the remaining commodity groups remained unchanged from the July levels.

Overall, prices of commodities hardly moved with the Consumer Price Index inching up 0.6 point from a month ago. The highest increase was registered in the Food, Beverage and Tobacco commodity group, the biggest item in Bicol Region’s market basket, at 1.1 points.

The 0.6 point decline in the Fuel group and the 0.2 percent drop in the Services group tempered average rise in the CPI. Slight increases were recorded, except for Housing and Repairs group, where prices remained unchanged.

On a month-on-month basis, average inflation rate in the Bicol Region rose to 0.4 percent from a flat growth in July.

The biggest contributor to the monthly spike was the Food, Beverage and Tobacco commodity group which rose to 0.7 percent from 0.1 percent the previous month. Inflation rate of the Fuel, Light and Water commodity groups remained negative but at a lesser degree.

Prices in the Services commodity group generally dropped month-on-month with inflation rate sliding to -0.1 percent from 0.2 percent the previous month.

The purchasing power of the peso in the Bicol Region remained at 60 centavos in August 2010 from P1.00 in 2000

On the other hand, tourism investment in Bicol’s provinces is pouring due to various festivals and development of tourist attractions.

In Legazpi City, the city government is expecting for the influx of local tourist during the Legazpi’s colorful month-long Ibalong Festival in October.

Legazpi City administrator Noel Rosal said more exciting and festive than ever before, the Ibalong Festival celebrates Bicol’s ancient history as told in the Ibalong folk-epic fragment that recounts the adventures of Bikol’s early heroes, Baltog, Handiong and Bantong.

First celebrated in 1992, the Ibalong Festival continues to be one of the most anticipated events in the city and elsewhere in the region that draw a lot of tourists to Legazpi. The Ibalong Festival also coincides with the feast of St. Raphael Archangel and the fiesta of the Legazpi Port District.

In Sorsogon, Kasanggayahan Festival, a month-long annual celebration of Sorsogon province’s socio-cultural heritage and great historical contributions to the greatness of the Filipino nation opened on October 17 .

Records of the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office showed that tourist arrival in Sorsogon last year improved by some 20 percent during the celebration period of the Kasanggayahan Festival. Around 500 foreign tourists came for the festival last year.


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