Filipinos are beginning to travel abroad again and, aside from the usual vacation photos, they post prices of goods that show them cheaper than the same items in the Philippines.

This online noise is disconcerting as those who have to spend more of their limited resources for the same amount of goods in the Philippines are finding that the government is not doing enough to control prices. If there is one priority the government should focus on in the next few weeks, it is to stop the increases.

Former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was one of those who posted on social media photos of his trip to Bangkok, Thailand, last week where he compared prices of food items there and here. He showed that one kilo of garlic costs 50 baht (or P85) and onion, 35 baht (P60). In the Philippines, garlic costs P130 to P200 and onion, P400 per kilo, he said.

He went on to show prices of other goods:

· “Sa Bangkok, ang isang manok naman makakabili ng mga 75 baht o P127 hanggang 80 baht o P136 ang halaga habang dito sa atin P190 ang isang manok.

· “At ang suahe sa Bangkok 160 baht o P270 ang isang kilo. P420 naman ang isang kilo ng suahe sa atin sa Farmers market sa Cubao.

· “Ang karneng baboy naman sa Bangkok mga 150 baht ang isang kilo o P260 habang sa atin P300 ang kasim at P370 ang liempo. Ang sweldo ng mga kababayan natin dito sa Pinas maraming mabibiling masarap na manok, baboy o isda kung presyong Bangkok ang mga bilihin.” Other Filipinos who recently returned from trips abroad did similar social media posts.

These observations validated the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report that said, in September, inflation accelerated further to 6.9 percent, the highest in four years. Food items were found to have the biggest increase in prices. Vegetables, fish, and sugar primarily contributed to food inflation, which went up to 7.4 percent in September compared to 6.3 percent in August, it said.

The consumers’ anxiety over rising prices is again validated by a survey done by Pulse Asia Research Inc. in September that showed how controlling inflation is an urgent concern for Filipinos.

The government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. received high approval ratings in 11 out of 13 national concerns to include calamity response and promoting peace in the country, but it received low approval in poverty reduction at 39 percent and control of inflation, 31 percent.

The online noise generated by consumers comparing prices should prod the government to urgent action as the much-vaunted resiliency of Filipinos could break under the weight of high prices.

Filipinos have been known to bear difficulty and to have the ability to spring back to action after a calamity. The long-term effect of unbearably high prices could lead to a disaster we would not wish to happen.