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Friday, February 6, 2009

It can only get worse...

Today's newscast was peppered with stories about price increases. The on-going shortage of supply of LPG caused its price to jump to 600 pesos per 11 kilograms cylinder. I bought mine 2 weeks ago at only 500 pesos and if things do not improve, my next cylinder might cost more than 600 pesos. Those LPG Suppliers are even predicting the price to increase every week until, they say, the problem eases or supply becomes normal again. In the meantime, our energy department secretary washes his hands off the problem and blames everybody else.

Another commodity that is about to have a price increase is water. The head of the agency in charge for water announced that it is inevitable, blaming the problem to the global financial crisis. What was even irritating with this news is that just last month, this same person proudly reported to the people that there was no need to increase the price of water until early next year. And confronted with this, he said that the law creating his agency stated that they could increase prices to match inflationary factors. Again, government just shrugged its shoulder and at the rate these people blame the global financial crisis for all our problems, expect the worst in the coming days.

The other commodity which will increase its price this month is rice, our staple food. The grains agency heady said that this will be temporary because of dwindling supplies but will ease as soon as the summer harvest arrives. However, the chief of the International Rice Research Institute painted a grimmer picture. He said there would be less rice for us because Filipino farmers did not produce enough of the grains and hence, they don't have enough money to plant for the next season. With this kind of statement, expect some unscrupulous traders to take advantage of the situation and get the prices of rice sky high as in the same period last year. In fact, prices of rice has already gone up. The one I'm buying used to sell for 34 pesos two months ago, now it is at 37 pesos. I wouldn't be surprised if it increases to up to 40 pesos again or even more.

The newscast also carried a report of how average Filipinos like me are coping up with these hard times. I echo the sentiment of one distraught lady, "We spend this much already, but how much do we earn?"

They say we Filipinos are as resilient as the bamboo plant. But sometimes, even the bamboo breaks.

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