By Johnny Dayang
Ordinary Filipinos today understand contemporary Economics mainly in the context of taxes, high prices, and subsidies. Happily perhaps, they now also understand that drawbacks imposed on them by these issues reflect the oversights and deficiencies of some government policies.
This appreciation now reflects the public outcry against our depreciated peso and progressively soaring prices. The outcry becomes louder by the day which may compel the national leadership to set aside part of its many ambitious plans to promote inclusive growth and mitigate inflation. This stresses the dictum that the State must live within its means and do away with fat loan portfolios.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson is right in saying the uncontrolled prices brought about by a runaway TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion), though refuted by government finance managers, has fashioned a landscape of uncertainty and created an atmosphere of agitation that may translate into social unrest. There are indications the parliament of the streets has slowly gained adherents recently.
The highlights of our economic woes today include hiked excise taxes and escalating fuel prices, peso depreciation, exorbitant costs of basic commodities, expensive health maintenance, agitation for hiked fares, and costly construction materials, among others.
The convergence of many economic concerns routinely translates to multiple whammy, particularly for fixed income earners. As fuel prices leap, costs of services and consumer goods immediately follow.
In money terms, due to the strengthening of the US dollar, the Philippine peso has been devalued by roughly two percent of its 2017 worth, which in many instances translates to buying cheaper rice that does not meet encouraging reception by one’s taste buds.
While the State has initiated certain economic measures to mitigate the impact of the newly imposed taxes, the inflationary repercussions created by TRAIN may not ease down in the short term due to external forces. In short, the increase in excise and valued added taxes on petroleum, coupled with its rise in prices in the world market will burden Filipino consumers for some time.
More painful yet is the fact that as commodity prices escalate, there is no guarantee that costs associated with basic items will immediately go down after the economic tremors subside. Economic managers are one in saying the TRAIN program is a step in the positive direction. Most Filipinos, however, remain unsure, if not doubtful about this assertion.