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No Relief in Sight

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

Good things come to an end. The downward path in the prices of petroleum products was a temporary bliss. This week, the direction was reversed, pump prices ticked up once more.

And no matter the assurance from Junior’s economic team that the government is doing its utmost to tame inflation, the surge in the prices of basic commodities is unrelenting.

Manang Myrna, our cleaning and laundry lady, complains that the price of rice, a staple food for most of us Filipinos, has gone up by slightly over 10 percent from P1,180.00 per 25 kilograms to now P1,300.00

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The controversial sweetener costs P25 for every 250 grams, and this is for not so refined sugar or what it’s called “segunda mano,” or P100 per kilo. For the refined sugar, the nearby “sari-sari” store sells it for P32 per 250 grams.

Adding to consumer’s financial woes is the change in the Easy Trip cards. On Tuesday, August 16, those using CALAX (Cavite-Laguna Expressway) and other tollways, a road network built and operated by the Metro Pacific Group, were required to have their old card changed for a cost P200 or a little over. It was said to be for “upgrade.”

With so many vehicles using the road network, easily the tollways operator could have collected not a handful but a lot! The cost would eventually trickle down to the consumers because the trucks and commodity delivery vans owners may pass the cost on.

Simply put, all developments combined, it seems there’s no let up, and no relief in sight. Even Bangko sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla, in one of his appearances last week and if I heard him right, made innuendoes that inflation may continue its upward trend.

This means the cost of borrowed money or interest rates will correspondingly go up and the extent by which the BSP will move depends as well on the action that the US Federal Reserves will adopt to arrest inflationary pressures.

Without seeming interruption, we’ve been whipped by the crippinling increase in the prices of basic commodities despite the observation that the cost of crude oil per barrel has, actually, fallen to roughly below $90 from a high of $130 at the height of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has already crossed six months.

It feels like there’s no relief in the horizon and we have to brace ourselves for elevated inflation due to supply bottlenecks. Delivery of agricultural products to Metro Manila could be hindered with the recent tremor that hit one of the rice bowls of the country. Plus, it's the rainy season.

Seriously, it appears there’s no escaping the shackles of increasing cost of living. Apparently there's no relief on the horizon for now.


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