Higher prices

Published February 1, 2021, 11:41 PM

by Hector Ronald Romero Villanueva


Hector RR Villanueva

“The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty.” – George Bernard Shaw

The periodic announcement by the Bangko Sentral of the rate of inflation is generally meaningless to the ordinary man in the street.

What he knows is that prices are continually going up while he is getting poorer by the day.

He opines with acerbic cynicism that government officials just talk and talk and issue press release’s but are unable to regulate or moderate the increasing rates of services and transport, and the rise in prices of dry goods and perishable products.

The hapless consumer even wishes that perhaps President Duterte would visit a public market and threaten to shut it down if the vendors do not lower their prices, or he will resign.  Usually, he does not.

In fact, the Bangko Sentral has been successful in controlling inflation.

One of the cause of rising prices and exorbitant rates of services and fare is that that on one end, there could exist a temporary and artificial shortage when supplies cannot reach their destination.

On the other hand, there could be a glut or excess inventory or stock when supplies cannot be delivered on time due to logistics failure.

The disconnect arises due to the failure of a logistics system and the lack of communication and coordination between concerned government agencies and law enforcement authorities vis-à-vis the private sector.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, at least the supply chain of vital services and essential goods and foodstuffs should never be compromised or disrupted in spite of the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

Where there is a vacuum, prices tend to shoot up.

In this respect, the performance of the Department of Trade and industry, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Agriculture leaves much to be desired in failing to provide the logistics support that triggers sudden spikes in prices.

While the doomsayers abound announcing substantial decline in exports and agricultural sector output due to natural calamities, typhoons, and ASF, the economy remains stable and resilient in spite of a projected downturn in GDP by over 10 percent.

The weak link in the Duterte administration is the existence of rigidities and deferential treatment toward the management and response to the vacuous coronavirus pandemic and the subordination of the economic recovery.

Thus there is a close relationship between economic recovery and the capability of procuring the vaccines to millions of Filipinos.

Time is running out on DU30.