The BBs
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR - Singkit (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2018 - 12:00am

Only those “Bright Boys” (I can give another more appropriate meaning to BBs...) managing our economy need an official announcement that prices are sky high and “urgent and drastic action” needs to be done “to tame inflation.” If they would just get out from their air conditioned SUVs and go to the grocery or the palengke like the rest of us mortals they would know that the increase in inflation rate is way beyond the 0.9 percent they assured legislators would be the impact of their beloved TRAIN law, with rice now selling for P50 or higher a kilo, matangbaka fish a staggering P320 a kilo, fish vendors no longer selling GG (galunggong) because “walang gustong bumili (no one wants to buy)” and siling labuyo at P1,000 a kilo. We crybabies can whine and complain all we want, but those BBs will just throw their technocratic assurances and high fallutin’ gobbledygook at us, for example:

• “…inflation in August is largely beyond the median market forecast. That is why we remain steadfast in putting forward measures that will address prices, especially for food,” from the guy in charge of economic planning;

• “We’ll convene the DBCC (Development Budget Coordination Committee) to see if there’s a need to reflect the new developments… We’ll revise the inflation target, of course, upward. We don’t know yet…” from the budget guy.

• “The government, particularly the Department of Agriculture, must act quickly and fervently with sound judgment to ease the increasing prices of agricultural commodities, which are the main drivers of inflation,” again from the economic planning guy.

These folks blamed the weather, typhoons, poor rice production, fishermen making less trips, fish kill…but of course not their beloved TRAIN.

According to one report, the highest contributors to inflation in August were electricity, gas and fuels, fish, rice, transport, vegetables and meat. All of these are affected by TRAIN, especially the excise taxes imposed on fuel products, which affect electricity generation, transport of food from farm or port to market and then to the consumer, as well as us peasants having to go to work each day. To meet the need for increased funding for government projects and services, these BBs seek the easiest way to do this – impose taxes as a matter of course instead of the harder ways like improving collection and curbing smuggling. Their assurances of inflation having peaked and tapering off in the months ahead is no consolation and certainly no solution to the crisis – yes, guys, it is a crisis, not a supply-side pressure or second-round effect – confronting us ordinary mortals on a daily basis.  

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