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July 9, 2008

Philippines ups transport fares as fuel costs soar
The Philippines approved on Tuesday all-round increases in the fares of public buses, taxis and jeepneys, the most popular mode of transport in the country, which could mean higher inflation in months to come.

Economic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos told reporters that the government had approved a 13 percent increase in minimum fares for jeepney passenger vans.

The government also approved a 33.3 percent hike in taxis' flagdown rate and an 11 percent increase in the minimum bus fare, he said.

The new fares, in response to steep rises in fuel prices, will take effect later this week.

"These are second-round effects to inflation," Santos said.

Domestic pump prices have increased by over 35 percent so far this year as global oil prices soared to record highs.

Santos said inflation was expected to remain at double-digit levels in July after hitting a 14-year high of 11.4 percent in June but price growth should taper off later in the year.

The central bank expects inflation this year to reach 7-9 percent, well above the government target of 3-5 percent and 2.8 percent inflation in 2007.

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