Sangil: Wage earners coping up

ECONOMISTS have their own language. And possibly you and me, most of the time can't understand their reportage to the public. Like saying that the base effect from last year's inflation environment is wearing off and the prices of basic commodities will likely settle at two percent. My barber Bernie at GQ will never know what it means. All what he knows his daily earnings can hardly meet the daily expenses of his family. As a matter of fact, the general public-upper, middle and lower class- are complaining of higher prices.

Do you still remember some years ago the market price of the lowly garlic, a very common product of Nueva Ecija province, went up the roof and reached almost P400 per kilo. And again this year, onion prices in public markets zoomed so high like a kite. And Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar allowed the importation of onion from Taiwan. In the early years, when I was still in my shorts, and my mother Beatriz was running a carinderia in the public market of Porac, I can even ask for free some pieces from the corner store. How in heaven's name that

happened? Good thing, weeks later the price cascaded to its level. What we can't understand we have to import onions from Taiwan. As we all know, Taiwan is a small country compared to us which has millions of hectares which we can plant anything.

It is not only onion prices breaching the roof but many basic market commodities. And economic students are taught that prices and wages are related. A family of four, the father earning P500 per day can't send the two kids to school if they are renting an apartment. The water and electric bills are monthly concerns. Medicines and transport fares, plus, plus... The P500 will not last a day.

Each year, Malacanang is always claiming that there is a dramatic increase in the Gross Domestic Product(GDP), and off-shore rating agencies like Fitch and Standard and Poors' statistic are in accord. It is even reported that the Philippine economy is likely to outperform its regional and global peers in the next two years. But do they really ask the wage earners? But that's not the kind of language a wage earner understand. It is not his mouth that can reply. It is his stomach.

The GDP is being used by the administration as a disguise to an imagined success but the reality on the ground many families can hardly cope up. Maybe to some people living on gated subdivisions, and the corrupt people in government find life easy in this country with them sending their kids

to exclusive schools, vacationing abroad and splurging for signature brands in Italy and elsewhere. But what about us? Ask the school kids whose families are in the squatter colonies.

The taxes collected from common workers can be likened to a small catch of the fisherman caught from shallow waters. If the fisherman (BIR) go to the mid-sea where there are the big fishes (Chinoy tycoons, Kastilaloy property developers, casino operators, importers, manufacturers, mall operators, etc. etc.) maybe it can spare the small fries. Again this year, the third tranche of the speeding TRAIN law will be implemented and surely will pull the wage earners on the wayside. Bagong pahirap.

Most of the government leaders, senators, congressmen, etc. were born

rich. They grew up in an upscale communities where there are maids whom they can ask what kind of food they wanted to eat for dinner. Same thing with the cabinet members, agency heads and even magistrates. When interviewed by media their hearts and concerns are for the poor. But I suspect that is only for sound bytes. Lip service, they call it. Malacanang claims it has big savings. Then scale down the deducted taxes on the pay envelopes of workers from 20 percent to 10 percent, and spare the bonuses. The poor have nothing to bite dinner time.


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