Hope that things can get better

By Joshua Corcuera

They say, numbers never lie; if this is true, then the opinion that our country is undergoing economic difficulty is logical and accurate. Inflation data for the month of September accelerated even further to 6.9% which shows the dramatic rise of goods and services in the country in recent months.

Speaking of the consistent rise of prices of products, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has targeted an inflation rate of not less than 2% but not more than 4% for this year. In recent months, however, the inflation rate has consistently exceeded this target prompting the BSP to raise rates by 225 basis points to prevent inflation from surging even higher. So far, though, there has been little change as evidenced by the inflation rate just last month.

A survey by Pulse Asia released recently, but conducted last September, found that controlling the rise of prices of goods and services is the most urgent national concern. Two-thirds said that inflation is one of their top three concerns, the only issue where the majority of people are worried. Precisely speaking, 35% said that controlling inflation is their number one concern in the same survey, the highest of all national issues and is followed by increasing the pay of workers at a distant 15%.

Issue Overall Ranked first Ranked second Ranked third
Controlling inflation 66% 35% 18% 13%
Increasing the pay of workers 44% 15% 17% 12%
Creating more jobs 35% 8% 14% 13%
Reducing poverty 34% 10% 12% 13%

Table 1. The most urgent national concerns, up to 3 responses allowed. The survey listed 16 issues, but for purposes of brevity, the writer of this article decided to only include the top 4 urgent issues in terms of overall concern. Survey by Pulse Asia from September 17 to 21 this year.

To demonstrate further how far-reaching the impact of inflation is, it is the only issue, out of 16 listed issues by Pulse Asia, where majority of people residing in each of the four major geographic subdivisions (NCR, Balanced Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) are worried of. The same is true as far as socio-economic standing (Class ABC, Class D, and Class E) is concerned.

Geographic subdivision % concerned
National Capital Region 68
Balanced Luzon 56
Visayas 71
Mindanao 81

Table 2. The percentage of respondents including inflation as one of their top 3 concerns per geographic subdivision.

Socio-economic subdivision % concerned
Class ABC 51
Class D 71
Class E 58

Table 3. The percentage of respondents including inflation as one of their top 3 concerns per socio-economic subdivision.

When it comes to public approval and disapproval of the efforts of the-powers-that-be in dealing with inflation, nearly half (42%) say they disapprove while a smaller minority (31%) approve, the remainder is undecided.

Nat’l admin’s performance rating in controlling inflation  
Approve 31%
Disapprove 42%
Undecided 27%
Net approval rating (approve minus disapprove) -11%

Table 4. The percentage of respondents assessing the national administration’s performance in dealing with the most urgent national issue.

So far, things are not good as far as the economy is concerned. To make matters worse, inflation is projected to slow down by early 2023 which means we still have to deal with high prices of goods for a few more months. We can merely hope that things get better, hope that it is true that inflation would be alleviated in a few months. Just imagine how terrible it would be if inflation as we experience it today would continue for years.

To end this column, I’d like to remember how life was before the pandemic. In 2019, my monthly allowance for school and other needs of P 5,000 is sufficient and I can even eat samgyupsal with friends every now and then and frequently drink milk tea. The operative word(s) in the previous sentence is: “in 2019”. At present, maybe even double that amount would be barely enough given how expensive food and transportation has become. Plus, I have not eaten samgyupsal for several weeks already.