Falling peso, rising prices

By Herbert Vego

YOU must have heard a seaman’s wife yell, “Yehey, more money for me!”

That’s because the peso value of her dollar allotment has slid to its “highest” at ₱56.77 per dollar.  But wait, is that ground for jubilation?

Oh no, not so when a market-going housewife realizes that, while she may be better off than most wage earners, the value of the peso has in reality fallen against the rising prices of basic commodities like rice and sugar.  Forget the promised ₱20/kilo rice.  Double that amount and you get a low-quality variety.

Simply put, a weaker peso has led to higher prices. Low-income earners are no longer in the position to buy the same goods at the same prices. Gas prices are approaching the ₱90/liter level. Thus, only millionaires do not feel uncomfortable. They would only feel so when they could no longer maintain their expensive lifestyle.

Among the millionaires insensitive to the plight of the poor are the politicians who would steal from government coffers to perpetuate themselves in power.

We can’t help but feel such insensitivity by the way they legislate and implement the national budget. Look, as announced by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the government has to borrow at least ₱1 trillion to cover the expected budget deficit in 2023. You see, against a proposed budget of ₱5.268-trillion, our revenue projection would only amount to ₱3.6 trillion.

Lubong na tayo sa utang pero bakit utang pa more? What could be the reasons.

Just for example, of the proposed ₱9.03 billion budget for the Office of the President for 2023, ₱4.5 billion would be defrayed for “confidential and intelligence funds”.

Of the proposed ₱2.292 billion budget for the office of Vice President Sara
Duterte Carpio, ₱500 million would be classified as “confidential expenses”.

During VP Leni Robredo’s time, the latest annual budget for her office amounted to only ₱702-million; there was no need for “confidential expenses”.

“Confidential expenses” do not require accountability. So, how would Aling Sara spend them? To cultivate the exponential “troll farms”?

Trolls are good at diverting issues. A present-day victim is the red-tagged Sen. Loren Legarda, who must be feeling “electrocuted,” having run and won under the wings of the trolls’ idol, BBM.

-oOo-

EXPECT MORE FROM MORE POWER

NOW that MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) is stretching its power lines from Iloilo City to Passi City and 15 towns of Iloilo Province, what should its new customers expect?

When we asked MORE Power’s Customer Care Department head Ma. Cecilia “Maricel” Pe about it, she said they expect better performance. Otherwise, their congressmen would not have filed the bill calling for such expansion, now a law numbered RA 11918.

“We are prepared to meet the challenge,” she said.

I remember the time when MORE Power president Roel Z. Castro explained how it could be done.

“We will definitely expand our workforce,” he said. That means more employment for technical people and more families enjoying more blessings.

An expansion of capital expenditure would therefore be necessary.  I understand that the company’s initial P1.9 billion investment has almost been exhausted because of the ongoing modernization program.

In its first two and a half years of operation, MORE Power has expanded its coverage from 62,000 to 86,000 customers.

-oOo-

GOODBYE AND WELCOME, LORD LEOMER

THIS corner bids goodbye to Lord Leomer Pomperada, 31, who just retired as president for seven years of the New York-based World Youth Alliance (YWA).  It’s not goodbye in the real sense of the word for this first Filipino YWA leader from San Jose, Antique.

In fact, he gets a bigger welcome from the YWA management with his new appointment as YWA executive director effective this month. Most of us are probably not aware that YWA is a global youth movement with over a million members in over 200 countries and territories.

Only last June 29, in recognition of that global youth leadership, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas honored Pomperada as one of this year’s recipients of the Presidential Award for Outstanding Filipino Individuals Overseas in a grand celebration at Sofitel Hotel.

His proud mom, Merlyn Bayombong Pomperada, was there to savor the moment even if she was fighting endometrial cancer.  She would pass away barely a month later.

His across-the-globe experiences in training the youth for leadership has motivated him to cap his presidency with a book entitled You’re Never Too Young to Lead, which is a collection of personal anecdotes on climbing the leadership ladder.

Lord Leomer Pomperada has gone a long way since his graduation as “cum laude” with a degree in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) in Manila in 2011. He entered the WYA Asia Pacific office in Manila as an intern for three months. After that, he worked with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia as a Program Assistant for Communication and Development.

He was elected president of the World Youth Alliance in October 2015.

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