Reaching a hundred bucks  

VERBAL VARIETY - Anne Fe Perez - The Freeman

It feels like the days after typhoon Odette unleashed its wrath in Central Visayas. Not that there is a long queue of vehicles for gasoline when in fact there are fewer cars on the road these days. The mutual feeling is that I don't want to go anywhere unless it is necessary. On top of the million things to do, I feel like every step outside my home is costly because of the rising price of petroleum products.

This week we hit more than P70, reaching almost P80. By next week, the Department of Energy is not denying the possibility of it reaching a hundred pesos, especially with the uncertainty of the war in Russia and Ukraine. We were told that the government cannot interfere with the world market prices of oil apart from good trading in the succeeding days. That is why they are trying to double their efforts in doling out money to the transportation sector.

Yet this is just a band-aid solution. We are looking into disbursing money for those who will not earn as much because of the prices of fuel, but we don't really know where that money will go. For all we know, it could end up spent on a lottery ticket as they try their luck to live a decent life. Or what's worse is the money might just end up in someone else's hands because of gambling. Last time, I talked about taking sides in this diplomatic issue, which will gradually help the country during these times.

Right now, I feel like we are in a rut. While we watch the prices of gasoline soar high, we are also waiting for the prices of the basic commodities to increase. Maybe it will not take effect immediately, but we know we are getting there. The petition to increase the daily wage has been shelved once more, citing many issues that could possibly be resolved.

Choosing to leave the country in the middle of a pandemic isn't even a good choice. Even countries abroad are facing the same dilemma on the increase in prices of petroleum products. My dad tells me during family gatherings that the world is addicted to petroleum and that there should have been alternative fuel. He could be right or wrong, but what's sure is that we should slowly think about harnessing power from different sources.

Whenever I see a hundred pesos on my hand, I scoff. That face of Roxas used to bring us a lot of joy when we were younger. Now, whenever you present it at a store, it is gone in a jiffy. Our currency's value will soon depreciate, plunging our economy into a deep dive. Nobody knows for how long the tension in Europe will last while we are all at stake. Mitigating measures might have been useful but now that we are here, we could just close our eyes and go through this mess. A whole lot of a hot mess.


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