BBM should not have disagreed

By Herbert Vego

“MISUNDERSTOOD” was the word used by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to defend Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who had disagreed with the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that inflation—the average rate of increase in the prices of goods and services—quickened to 6.1% in June from 5.4% in May.

In its simplest interpretation, an item we used to buy for P100 would now cost P106.10.

“I think I will have to disagree with that number. We are not that high,” Marcos said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Marcos is not misunderstood. Coming from a politician who had never been poor, his disagreement with PSA certainly mirrors his ignorance of the country’s economy.

We the people know better because we feel the burden of having to spend more for basic commodities. In some cases, prices have doubled, thus crippling the minimum wage earners.

You must have heard neighbors saying, “Good for those who receive dollars from relatives abroad.  They would receive 55 pesos per dollar, an increase of five pesos from the previous month’s”

In a strict interpretation of inflation, however. that would not always apply.  There are instances when what we used to buy for P50 — gasoline, for instance — has jumped to almost P90.

Savers who hardly earn interest from bank deposits may now cry over the erosion of their buying power.

Ay ah, daw indi na gid ako kasarang magpatindog balay.



We literally witnessed gnashing of teeth by our neighbors here in Iloilo City the other day (Wednesday), cursing the power-distribution utility, MORE Power, over prolonged and rotational brownouts.

The truth of the matter was that the problem was all over Panay Island, making the electric cooperatives as bad-mouthed as MORE Power. And since most residents had no battery-powered transistor radio, they had no source of verified information on what was destabilizing the power lines.

The distribution utilities were as helpless as their valued customers, since it was not their fault that the transmission grid, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had to enforce rotational brownouts due to load shedding. Otherwise, the grid could not supply energy sourced from the power producers to MORE Power, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (ILECO), Antique Electric Co-op (ANTECO), Aklan Electric Co-op (AKELCO) and Capiz Electric Co-op (CAPELCO).

Load shedding occurs when power companies need to reduce electricity consumption by switching off the power supply to groups of customers to stave off shortage of electricity supply,

The power rotation the other day was brought about by the forced trips-off of power plants following the isolation and rehabilitation of the Negros-Panay submarine cable.

As far as MORE Power was concerned, the company took advantage of line disconnections to upgrade its transformers, feeders, meters and other old facilities. It is now in the middle of its five-year modernization program.

So, hats off to company president Roel Z. Castro, whose quotation resonates: “With MORE Power comes great sustainability.”



I well remember that day in 2016 when Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas lamented that none of his five children were interested in entering politics because they would rather be in the restaurant/bakery business like their mother, the former Rosalie Sarabia.

He was wrong. His son Miguel has changed his mind; he has just assumed office as an elected member of the city’s Sangguniang Panlungsod.

If I heard it right, he would chair the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Zoning, It’s too early to predict how he would fare, though.

He is a fast learner.  After deciding to join the RJT Group of Companies, he took up Culinary Arts in a culinary college in Metro Manila. He is now a professional chef.

RJT, incidentally, refers to “Rosalie & Jerry Treñas” – the family business comprising Carlo’s Bakeshop, Ang Kamalig and Wild Bamboo restaurants.

Miguel is famous for his three oyster concoctions which go by the names Oyster Rockefeller, Three Cheese Oysters, and the Fried Oysters with Aligue.

He may make use of his experience in the bakery and restaurant businesses in his present position. This is because the city runs the Technical Institute of Iloilo City (TIIC), which offers a free two-year course in Culinary Arts to city residents.

Incidentally, we know of a TIIC graduate who is now the assistant cook at an overseas bulk carrier. He must be earning more money than the city councilors.