If asked if Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III can still sleep soundly in the midst of a 6.4 percent inflation rate, yes, they can. So do the lawmakers who supported these brains of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and who crafted Republic Act 10963 which is being blamed for the high prices of food and fuel.
Practically everybody else in this country’s 105 million population can still sleep even if in their nightmares a kilo of rice in the market is also selling at P70, galunggong at P240 per kilo and hot chili pepper at P1,000 per kilo. The homeless families living beside a bridge on Gil Puyat Avenue in Pasay City still sleep soundly with an empty stomach and on a thin cardboard as shield from the cold sidewalk pavement.
Ironically, politicians, critics and opportunists are complaining non-stop on rising inflation, prices of food and prices of fuel even blaming President Rodrigo Duterte for such burdens as if he brought upon a curse to everyone’s wallets. It would not be surprising if they also blame the President for the depreciation of the peso to P54 per US dollar.
As the local press echoes politicians’ picture of a national crisis, international media play it up with headlines like Bloomberg’s “There’s an Inflation Crisis Brewing in the Philippines” as if a 6.4 percent inflation is as terrifying as Venezuela’s 1 million percent inflation rate.
In October 1984, inflation rate in the Philippines was at its historic high of 63.8 percent. A composed Economic Planning Minister Vicente Valdepenas then was reported in December by Reuters as telling the Philippine Economic Society, an organization of economists, that inflation was expected to continue declining as November inflation went down to 60.57 percent. Valdepenas cited stable prices of basic consumer items and removal of excess money in circulation as basis of his forecast.
From January to September in the same year, the Philippine economy grew -5.6 percent with the minister forecasting the whole 1984 GNP in the same number but with an optimistic 1.2 percent growth rate prediction the following year. Valdepenas’ optimism didn’t seem right as typhoon “Ike’s” 185 kph winds had just killed 1,300 people in Mindanao and rendered more than 20,000 others homeless. But the country has since moved on from that inflation rate.
Although the economic situation in 1984 was far different from today’s, a 63.8 percent inflation rate at this time would have a proportionate impact but with the complaining at probably screaming level. Maybe Duterte would have been ousted already by power grabbers and brainwashed imbeciles.
Ironically, politicians, critics and opportunists are complaining non-stop on rising inflation.
There are many ways to deal with a rising inflation. For policy makers they can do the maths to come up with an adjustment in numbers. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raised rates.
Lawmakers are working out possible changes in the TRAIN law and pushing rice import tariff.
The government acted by distributing lower priced rice, by monitoring traders jacking up prices unreasonably and by considering imposing price control. It also released P5,000 fuel subsidy to affected jeepney drivers. Traders agreed to freeze prices for three months.
Families can tighten budget.
Inflation is temporary as it rises or falls. Everyone can cope with it and move on. For those who have other things in mind, it’s simply politicking.