Monday, September 24, 2018

Luczon: Endurance tested


RECENTLY, the regular fare of motorelas in Cagayan de Oro City returned to P7.00, from the previous P6.00, with a fare matrix suggesting that it may be reduced or reach to a maximum of P8.00 when fuel prices change again. Last night, I was able to ride a motorela, and just in time, the driver dropped by a gasoline station in Canitoan to refuel.

The driver handed the payment for diesel worth P150, and seeing the figures in the dispensing machine it showed that the money’s worth was around 3.141 liters, or about P47 per liter of diesel as its current cost. Under the new fare matrix in motorelas, if the fuel prices are within the range between P39 to P55 per liter, the fare would be set to P7.

The current price of diesel last night only confirms the monitoring report of fuel prices collected by the Department of Energy (DOE). In the middle of June, DOE-Mindanao noted that Cagayan de Oro's diesel was more expensive, with price range between P46.35 and P50.25 per liter, compared to Cebu City's P45.31-P47.25; and Metro Manila's at P41.75-P50.89. The figures were based in the end of May 2018.

On the contrary, Cagayan de Oro has the lowest gasoline prices - between P50.45 and P52.92 per liter, the average price of the three major players -- Petron, Caltex, and Shell -- and new independent players. Unlike Cebu City, which has a price range between P52.62 and P60.98; and Metro Manila, whose gasoline prices were pegged between P49.75 and P65.08 per liter in the same period.

However, whether it’s the lowest or highest, the fact remains that it is still expensive. Three liters for P150 may not fill a whole motorcycle tank, and with the current economic situation on inflation and Train law, it might increase further.

But what is new? There may be roll-backs for a while that’s worth some centavos, but it’s still being increased by a sum of pesos. Fuel prices often dictate the changes of prices in basic commodities in the market that eventually will cause a domino effect.

Looking back at the motorela’s fare matrix, it said that if the gasoline prices would lower between P11 to P25, the basic fare will also roll back to P5.00 only, with student and senior citizen discount rate of P3 to P4.

Such figures seem to be a figment of everyone’s hopes and dreams. Almost everyone has forgotten that there used to be a fuel price as low as P10 per liter some half a century ago or more.

It is obvious we need to endure for more decades to come, while opportunities for Filipinos to work overseas are still tempting in order to make ends meet in their household.

We have not talked about foreign debts yet, that we had to pay including our next generations through the taxes we return to the government, and the depleting resources of manpower, natural resources, and agricultural products made from the hands of Filipino laborers and farmers.

I paid P20 to the motorela, since it’s a “special” trip beyond the vehicles’ standard route, and it was already late at night. Had it been a taxi, it would cost me more at least 10 times the fare I paid.

I was tired from work, but had to sleep, readying for another struggle for economy and livable livelihood tomorrow.