Lobaton: Hope against uncertain times

SITUATIONS would probably be better starting the first quarter of next year. The national government projects that while the budget of 5.2 trillion pesos would be operative, it could deliver for the social services particularly in the local government units (LGUs). The Department of Budget Management (DBM) said 962 billion of the 2023 budget would be for the support of LGUs.

For this year, the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed the effects of the pandemic on the economy and a government that is short of resources. Most of the resources we had up to the end of this year, have been utilized for vaccines, medicines and supplies to fight the Covid-19 since in the early part of 2020.

The national government even incurred more loans during the pandemic as we have to support people who cannot work outside due to quarantine measures imposed by the government.

In the recent months, inflation rose to unimaginable levels, hence, leading to a struggling situation for the people. Income coming from salaries and wages for those working, could not even balance the need to buy food and fuel for their vehicles.

The peso weakened but has tried to recover slowly. The prices of commodities were affected and purchasing power also weakened.

I have been asking friends and relatives from abroad about this economic situation. They said this is not exclusive to the Philippines. From where they are outside the country, they could feel the hardships of life other than the loneliness of being away from home that has become constant for those working abroad. But they believe the governments of the countries where they work are doing excellent in confronting the challenges better than the way we approached it.

Somehow, while no society could escape the wrath or the aftereffects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government can make the situations better for the people. Of course, society varies on its approaches. That is what we call the relativity of societies in terms of what is acceptable to them as practice. It also reminds us that we cannot compare their economic situations to us as we are also distinct from them.

Trying to think about how the government in other countries could approach the economic challenges should supposedly help us think of how to approach the relative challenges experienced by our people. It could not be denied that we’ve the grasp of our situations, thus, we know how to approach these uncertainties in line with our strengths and weaknesses as a society.

I suggest we need to go back to how we view the interrelationship between our government and the people, who on top of many things, allowed us to create the government. It would be hard to touch on the dynamism of government for the sake of ensuring people’s welfare when from the start, the government doesn’t care to define its role as a social institution.

Another gap is that we have entered into the many governmental processes that discuss how effective and efficient public administration will have to be left into the hands of those in academic institutions. Worse, those who are in the reign of sensitive government positions don’t have the mastery or even just the least of education to ensure a responsive government structure.

In 2023, we will see what dynamism of our economy will show when the new budget will be operative and how it will affect the conditions of our people. As the DBM assured that despite some cuts in the national tax allocation, the local government units were given the priority to deliver the basic services to the people, we can expect that the usual services by LGUs will continue.

While hoping for the best to happen next year, we can pursue to tighten our belt as the state of our economy remains uncertain.


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