Time and again the Administration and its technocrats sing the ever increasing strength of the peso. This means that it costs more and more American dollars to buy Philippines peso. The jubilation is loud and prolonged “ad nauseam”.
Yet people who not live in Malacañang, big mansions nor high rise condominiums but in simple houses if not under the bridges have been asking long since a simple question: if the peso is going strong, why does it buy less and less? If the peso is becoming valuable, why does it take so much of it to buy so little in the market.
In the day to day living of the ordinary Filipino—and these are millions—the so called “strong peso” is in fact irrelevant. For all intents and purposes, let it be a “weak peso” provided it buys enough food and clothing. A strong peso with a weak purchasing power is a big bad joke.
And there is also the paradox of the ever increasing prices of commodities vis-à-vis the low salaries of employees particularly the wages of casual workers. There have been long standing promises of increasing the take home pays. And the premises forwarded for this supposedly good news is the big VAT increase.
What remains unsaid is that VAT is imposed on consumer goods. Majority of those show pay these increased taxes are in fact the same employees and workers who are all consumers. What would be then added to their salaries or wages simply come from their own pockets. To say this is a dirty trick is an understatement.
And there is the well published improved credit rating given to the Philippines. Translated in reality this simply means that the government has now the go signal to borrow more money. This then means that the Administration is geared to incur more debts particularly from foreign lending agencies. This ultimately means that the Filipinos have to pay bigger and bigger debts thereafter. Strange but true: whenever the government incurs debts, it is infallibly the citizens who pay them. When a common tao has debts, he pays for it.
16 February 2006