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Rising prices – fear vs reality


by Elinando B. Cinco

Prices of almost all basic commodities are on the rise. I just went to the neighborhood  grocery store the other day with the wife to purchase our household necessities and was stunned when the cashier said that my  bill amounted to P2,500.

Still in a state of shock, I told her there was nothing enormous with what I bought – the same goods that I am  used in shelling out for a little less than P2,000.. She nonchalantly replied, “Manong Eli, nagtaasan na po lahat ngayon, kaya huwag na kayo magulat. Kami nga din po sa bahay namin, tipid-tipid muna. Kung hindi kailangan, huwag nang bilhin.”

 That certainly made my day, I  knew  that as a consumer there is a way to manage my hard-earned peso: Buy only what you  need and look for bargains.

 Normally, I also do not drive my car anymore to save on gas whose pump prices have been steadily going up. I ride in public transportation, though, it is difficult to muscle my way in, what with those hundreds of commuting passengers.

 We, seniors, seem to have an advantage as most commuters are respectful enough to accommodate us when we are on board, including alighting to and from the vehicles. I can still feel the respect for elders in this country.

 It seems the Duterte administration’s call for order and discipline  is rubbing off on citizens. I also read in the papers that we have an increase in electricity prices, and almost in the same week, consumer oil prices went up.

 What surprised me, however, is that when I saw my Meralco bill it was not that high at all. In fact I felt it was even very low.

 Then I remembered what the Meralco Public Information Office would often say that aside from prices we must look into our consumption, as well. When I saw the graph of my consumption, lo and behold, it was, indeed, lower compared  to the previous month which probably explains why there was not much change in the total bill I paid for the month of  January

 Oftentimes, all we need to do is understand the issues and make sure we are well informed. I also found out that power rates were coming from an all-time low last month and that electricity costs were comparable to those of  2004, as far as the cost of generation  is concerned.

 So while other products and services were going up, Meralco rates approximate that of 13 years ago. No wonder I enjoyed low power bills since the last couple of years. I cannot complain, I sure enjoyed  it, while it lasted.

 Incidentally, I find some parallelism on the above  issues to what I encountered in the Internet the other week. I said:

 “Psychologists are in agreement of the theory that the human mind can be vulnerable to biases and prejudices when there are domineering influences that are sustained even for a limited time.”

 But all things will eventually normalize and that is when we must accept the fact that we can do something to help ourselves. This early there is already a call by government for energy conservation as power costs are expected to rise next month. This is due to the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya Gas Facility in Palawan.

 You see, this provides natural gas fuel to major plants and since it was unavailable for almost three weeks, those plants had to use a more expensive type of fuel. Otherwise, we would have no electricity to  enjoy its convenience and comfort.

 So there you go, folks. It seems 2017 will not be coming in easy, and we have to do our part to manage our own expenses. If you ask me I would rather focus on what I can do than uselessly complain and  rant.

 In my senior years, complaining needlessly has become a burden. The long years that I have been in this world, the only complaint that is actionable to me is  that of my wife.

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