Friday, September 17, 2021

Ombion: Let’s prepare for worsening recession


PRICES of commodities soar like hell. From basic food items, rice, fish, vegetables, spices, and canned goods, to personal items and effects, and public services. And the increases in prices and costs are not just few cents, but pesos up to hundreds or so.

The Covid pandemic crisis is further putting heavier load on us and there’s no light yet in the tunnel to say the end of the crisis is forthcoming.

Aside from greater health risks, it means more hardships, especially for the majority poor among us, the many jobless, income less, economically unstable workers, farmers, fishers, vendors, odd jobbers, OFWs and their families, transport workers, private sector employees, women, seniors, persons with diabilities (PWDs) and more.

Right now, we just seem to be unmindful of the worsening economic crisis because our focus is on the fearsome and immobilizing effect of Covid crisis. But the hardships and more hardships everyday are there, real, and getting us more scared and panicky.

I am not and don’t intend to make everyone panic if they were still not, nor creating a doomsday scenario. I am putting this forward for everyone to see the bigger picture and thus prepare for the worse.

Economic recession is steadily hitting US, North America and European Union, and will likely peak in 2022. That means, their production will stagnate, prices of commodities and services will surge and market will shrink steeply, public services will break down, and joblessness, starvation and the deadly hunger engulf the majority jobless, landless, and homeless.

It won’t take long for their recession to hit us, as we are dependent on those countries for most of our food and basic commodities, manufacturing, construction and service means, which we buy and loan in dollars, and pay in dollars.

Our multi-billion overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) industry will face further downslide, thus the huge revenues they contribute to our economy will collapse, and thus backpedal on the many aspects of our national and local economies, worsening the already impoverished population that we have.

Cities and urban centers will be deluged by migration from rural folk expected to be displaced by the recession, and by our already bleeding agriculture.

On the other hand, the coin has two sides; for every crisis, there are victims and there are beneficiaries. The rich, moneyed class, the well-placed in society will survive more likely. Leisure and entertainment industry will be kept afloat by the affluent and the rich who can easily keep such habits to keep them away from the stresses of life’s pressures.

And in crisis situation, there will always be political opportunists, insatiable stalkers, spin masters and pinprickers who will make use of the crisis situation to put the blame and hate on the ruling administration, incumbent leaders to advance their personal and selfish political and economic agenda.

They are just dregs in our dynamic and progressing society.

In this regard, I will push the challenge to incumbent leaders, national and local, to prepare us for this, even as we face the pandemic with more adaptive measures and strategic solutions.

In particular, I am confident that we have enough champions in some local government units (LGUs), like in Bacolod City government, Himamaylan City, Bago City, Toboso, Escalante City, Guihulngan City, Bais City, Dumaguete City, Sipalay City and Hinobaan, among others, to prepare us for the expected and unexpected scenarios.

I am particularly keen on the role being played by Bacolod City as a highly urbanized city (HUC) and the provincial capital. Its leadership preparedness, development planning systems and targets, and the resources and personnel it commands can play pivotal role in facing effectively the impact of the crisis on its more than half million people, and thus, expand the ripple effects of its actions to other cities and towns within its reach.

Some DILG field officials and personnel like the DILG-Western Visatas family are likewise scaling up their preparedness to effectively assist LGUs not only for the pandemic and the crisis it caused but also for the many complex challenges ahead.

For all this, God be with us.


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