By Chito Chavez
The militant group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) on Friday has downplayed the country’s inflation drop from 6.7 percent in the previous two months to 6 percent this month.
The group believes that the measly drop of 0.7 percent will benefit commodity speculators, traders and industrialists rather than lowly wage earners.
Citing that people’s right to affordable commodities will still be affected, the group said “if ever the easing on inflation will result in a drop in wholesale prices, traders will use it as an opportunity to buy cheap and sell dearly during the holidays as workers have received their 13th month pay and bonuses’’.
The BMP asserted the same trend could now be seen at the stock market.
They claim that the “hungry masses have no reason to rejoice because this will be hardly felt by end consumers. To classify it as good news is overrated at best,” the group noted.
The labor group added that even before prices of basic needs could trickle down at the level of retailers it would dramatically rise again with demand increasing as the holidays approach.
“Between today and the holidays, there is an insignificant amount of time for the workers and poor to feel the effects of the drop in inflation on retail prices of their basic needs, if there will be any,” said Leody De Guzman, BMP chairperson.
“With such a small window, this will hardly make a dent on market prices before it starts rising again,” he added.
De Guzman anticipates that “once the second tranche of the oil excise tax which levies an additional P4.50 for diesel fuel and P9.00 for gasoline is enforced it will unleash more fatal blows to families of wage earners and those belonging to the informal economy”.
The group also disagreed at presidential spokesperson and legal adviser Sal Panelo’s claim that the president took “decisive action” to soften the impacts of his unpopular TRAIN Law.
They argued that groups and ordinary citizens were already up in arms as early as 2017 and yet the administration still forced the tax imposition despite popular resistance.
“I would not call it decisive action if Cabinet secretaries and even his predecessor Harry Roque took turns defending the tax reform package all year round to no avail. The crux of the matter is the promised benefits of the tax reform package have yet to be fulfilled. Their sugar coating efforts mean nothing to us unless we have more food on the table,” he asserted.