Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda was asked by this reporter about his advice to Filipinos on how to spend their 13th month pay, since it's already November and thus very close to that time of the year.
Instead of giving generic financial tips, Salceda--a veteran in the House of Representatives--shared advice that was specific, serious, and somewhat somber.
"The only advice I can give is that Filipino families should opt for cheap, nutritious food such as eggs, backyard-grown vegetables, and other affordable options to get more value for money," said the House Committee on Ways and Means chairman.
"Other than that, I wouldn't dare tell them anything else, or try to shrug off their hardships," Salceda said.
Why? Simply put, life has been hitting Filipinos hard, according to the Bicolano.
"Most Filipino workers are already trying as hard as they can. Life is hard these days. We in government have the duty to make life for working Filipinos easier," he said.
Salceda made these remarks even as Philippine inflation raced to a four-year high of 6.9 percent last September.
"Inflation is a socioeconomic issue," noted the economist-lawmaker. "The Filipino family can try to adapt, but fighting it is the responsibility of government. We policymakers have the primary responsibility to address it."
Salceda further said: "I'm trying my best to advise the government and pass policies that can make food, fuel, and feeds cheaper. And we in government have to keep doing better."
Asked if he is frustrated by government over the obvious hardships that common Filipinos face, the ranking House member answered: "I am part of government, and I think we in government can always do better."
"Our monetary policy options and fiscal options are very limited, so I have frustrations in that area. But we have significant policy and government space for action on food security," he said.
"That is why I have been pushing for a Food Security Cluster in the Cabinet, as well as a total strategy for dealing with food and feed issues," Salceda added.