Struggling peso

By Alex P. Vidal

“The economy is the start and end of everything. You can’t have successful education reform or any other reform if you don’t have a strong economy.” — David Cameron

WE may not have fully regained the momentum of our economy in the supposed comeback year for the world economy after the pandemic, but we are glad that the Philippine peso was able to slightly “recover” after nearly breaching the $1 to P60 in exchange rate in October and early November 2022.

At the remittance center in our borough in Queens on December 27, the palitan or exchange rate was $1 to P55. Meaning if we send $100 to the Philippines, the receiver will get P5,500. A year ago in almost the same period, the palitan was $1 to P48. If went $100 to our loved ones in the Philippines, they received P4,800.

After the Covid-induced economic crisis of 2020, consumer prices reportedly began to rise in 2021 as countries emerged from lockdowns and other restrictions.

Central bankers insisted that high inflation would only be temporary as economies returned to normal. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February sent energy and food prices soaring, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Many countries are now reportedly grappling with cost-of-living crises because wages are not keeping up with inflation, forcing households to make difficult choices in their spending.

“Central banks have played catch-up. They started to raise interest rates this year in an effort to tame galloping inflation—at the risk of tipping countries into deep recessions, since higher borrowing costs mean slower economic activity,” reported the AFP.

Inflation has finally started to slow down in the United States and the eurozone.


I visited cancer patient Lorna Tolentino (not the Philippine actress) at the Burnaby General Hospital in Burnaby City, British Columbia on December 28, 2011. She was dying of ovarian cancer. It my three straight Christmas in Canada and third meeting with a cancer patient already “scheduled” to join the Creator.

In December 2009, I visited a 27-year-old female caregiver at the Vancouver General Hospital and interviewed her before she died. In December 2010, I visited another 27-year-old male patient in the same hospital before he died. My Christmas in Canada had been always dedicated to dying cancer patients. Bless their souls, oh Lord.

WHAT SCARES THE AIR FORCE. A pair of binoculars and a cellular phone can threaten modern warplanes. In 1999, Serbian airplane spotters watched U.S. aircraft leave an airbase in Italy. The spies alerted anti-air-missile battery crews in Serbia to aim their long-wavelength radar overhead, enabling the crews to destroy a stealth F-117A nighthawk.

ANTHROPOMIMETIC MACHINES. No matter how closely a robot resembles a human on the outside, if we crack it open, the jumble of wires is unlikely to bear much resemblance to our insides. A group of European researchers aims to bridge that gap–its robot prototype is anthropomimetic, making it mimics the human form.

SIM CARD REGISTRATION LAW. A statement from “Ka Eric” Celiz, a former leftist rebel cadre who is now helping the government fight against the CPP-NPA-NDF, on the mandatory sim card registration issue.

“This  mandatory sim card registration law is already long overdue law enforcement enhancement need of our government in order to protect our people from terrorists, scammers and all sorts of criminal elements who are hiding behind their use of unregistered and easily disposable non-personal linked cellular numbers… especially the leading terrorists operators and enablers as well as the conspirators of the CPP-NPA-NDF


ANG LAHAT NG MGA KALAYAAN AT KARAPATAN NG MGA INDIBIDWAL AY DAPAT NAKABATAY SA PAG-IRAL AT PAGIGING PANGUNAHIN NG BATAS! When rights, freedom and liberty are abused in order to advance a political agenda that aims to disrupt and weaken the democratically established state and with the aim to subvert and overthrow the system of governance, the most reasonable adjudicator and balancer is the RULE OF LAW. It should always be emphasized as a means to protect and preserve the state, and our society against all threats to our security, including those coming from the local communist terrorism and their sponsors and benefactors as well as their colluders…”

RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS. Some of the main reasons why our relationship with our neighbors–rich or poor– has always been chaotic and hostile are:  A. Envy (both parties) B. They know our dark secrets (vice versa) C.  Jealousy (both parties) D. Territorial dispute. Some people are always uncomfortable when they see their friends talking to their neighbors.

DELAYED DECISION. Some of our important choices have a time line. If we delay a decision (to get married, to work abroad, to transfer residence, to change career, etc) the opportunity is gone forever. Sometimes our doubts keep us from making a choice thus an opportunity may be missed. Let’s think, decide and move.

LOVE TO OUR PARENTS. Our parents, like new-born babies, are gifts of God. Let us give them respect, love and support up to their last days on earth. Let us never turn our back from them; let’s give them the best attention and care at the time when they need it most.

YULETIDE SEASON MESSAGE. Christmas is a season of love and forgiveness. So even if we are not aware of it, holding a grudge against someone who has done wrong cripples us. Our energy is consumed by hatred and ill-feelings rather than being spent on worthwhile endeavors. Better to forgive but don’t forget. Happy New Year 2023!

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)