Cebuanos struggle as peso’s purchasing power plummets

Cebu.File photo

A MOTHER of two, Haytch Recla, from Consolacion town, northern Cebu, shared her observations on the shrinking purchasing power of the Philippine peso.

She noted that P1,000 no longer stretches as far as it used to when grocery shopping. In the past, she said, this amount could yield a significant number of items, but nowadays, it barely covers the essentials.

“P1,000 before daghan g’yud kaayo na; karon kay pila nalang ka item imo ma-bitbit, usa nalang gani ka plastikan,” Recla, 38, told SunStar Cebu.

(Before, P1,000 went a long way, but now it only buys a few items, maybe just enough to fill a single plastic bag.)

As a result of economic pressure, she finds herself needing to allocate more of their budget and even tighten their belt, spending only on what is necessary.

Meanwhile, third-year pharmacy students Chelsea Ramos and Mycael Andre Zoleta voiced their daily survival struggle, allocating most of their allowance to transportation expenses.

Ramos, from Barangay Tisa, takes three jeepney rides to reach a university located on Urgello St. in Cebu City, while Zoleta spends at least 100 pesos for a one-way trip from Barangay Sirao to school.

They noted that transportation now consumes the bulk of their daily budget, unlike before when the jeepney minimum fare was still P7.

In an interview on April 17, 2024, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Cebu Provincial Office Chief Statistical Specialist Melchor Bautista said the value of P1 for a person living in Cebu in 2018 has now plummeted to only P0.83. In Cebu City, a P1 has also shrunk to just P0.87.

Bautista said the peso’s purchasing power reflects how much it can buy, noting that a drop in purchasing power implies it can purchase fewer goods or services than before.

However, a local economist warned of a continued decline in the purchasing power of the peso.

Economic expert Isabelita Labus, also a university instructor, predicts further depreciation of the purchasing power of the peso in Cebu. She explained that as prices of goods and services continue to rise, the purchasing power of the peso decreases.

“They have an inverse relationship (prices and purchasing power). So, when inflation spikes up, the purchasing power goes down,” she said in an interview with SunStar Cebu.

Labus, who had worked at the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas for over two decades, emphasized that low-income families will bear the brunt of this depreciation.

Earlier, SunStar Cebu reported that Central Visayas’ inflation rate in March 2024 has increased to 3.2 percent from 2.7 percent in February, while Cebu City’s inflation was logged at 4.7 percent, which is also an increase from 4.5 percent in the same period.

Inflation describes the increase in the general price level of goods and services over time, typically measured as a percentage. / KJF


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