Up in arms over rising prices PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 May 2018 13:44

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

We are currently going through a national  situation  which we have experienced more than once in the past -  the adjustment of the minimum wage in light of the global impact of the higher price of oil. This time there is another cause for the price of just about everything that we buy, and this is attributed to the TRAIN, which is the short way of referring to the  TAX REFORM FOR ACCELERATION AND INCLUSION.

Our legislators claim that TRAIN is the most significant tax law that the Philippines has passed and that it benefits a great majority of our population, especially those in the lowest income brackets. Don’t ask me to prove that, I only go by what I read in the papers. Nevertheless, valid or not, it is the observation of many that once TRAIN was in place the price of goods went up compared to what these same goods  cost in 2017.

Then there is the price of oil in the world market. We have no control over this price but when it goes up we immediately feel it at where we pump our gasoline and our diesel and kerosene.  And also where we buy our LPG tanks. In December 2017 the price of oil was $61.19 per barrel and in April this year it was $68.79. It is expected to be at $80 per barrel, if it has not yet reached that as of this date.

When the price of oil goes up then we get the transportation industry ( read jeepneys and buses) asking for an increase in the usual fare schedules. And when this happens there is an increase in the price of just about everything else. The passenger airlines also want to add a fuel surcharge to the usual fare passengers pay when they fly.

And of course there is the anticipated cry of workers for an increase in the minimum wage. At present the minimum wage for Metro Manila is higher than that in other regions of the country. Each region has a Regional Wage Board which deliberates on the minimum wage for their respective regions and for the type of business (e.g. agricultural) and the size of the company. With the price of almost everything going up it is logical that labor will want higher wages. But what is new is that some legislators are talking about a uniform  minimum wage for the whole country and the latest buzz is that this should be P750 a day. This may be popular with the labor sector but how will this affect business and industry?

A photo in a newspaper showed a placard carried by  a demonstrating worker  with the words “ Itaas ang sahod, ibaba ang presyo”. I wish to heaven I know how this can be done.