The inflation rate in the Philippines spiked to 8.7% in January 2023, topping the 8.1% data from December 2022. Its impact turned the prices of necessities, including fish, meat, and vegetables, to become less affordable among ordinary Filipinos.

Inflation refers to the movement of prices of goods and services over time, measured by looking at what statisticians and experts call a “basket of goods.” It contains what typical Filipinos consume on a regular basis such as food, clothing, housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels.

These goods and their prices are called the consumer price index (CPI), where its annual percentage change determines the measure of inflation. Through these, we can see if inflation is driven by either supply or demand.

In today’s scenario, there are fewer goods produced due to high costs of production, yet the demand remains consistent, which means we need to pay more for the same goods and services.

There is a much faster inflation, however, for essential goods such as food and non-alcoholic beverages due to lower production caused by calamities, which leads to higher prices for these in the market.

Filipino families are then forced to cut their budget short and consume essential goods at minimal amounts, considering the absence of wage hikes to compensate for the overbearing prices. 

Tightened budget for survival

Housewife Aileen May Armado, a 38-year-old mother of two, said she has to stretch her P300 to purchase fish and other ingredients. In order to get everything that she needs, Armado has to limit the quantities and kilos upon buying items. 

Her husband earns 18,000 a month as a government employee. However, Armado admitted it was insufficient to shoulder household expenses and the ballooning commodity prices. She then called that the government should monitor the inflation crisis as it burdens the Filipinos. 

Dapat nga talaga sana tinututukan ng gobyerno natin [‘yung presyo ng bilihin]. Nahihirapan ‘yung mga kulang sa budget lalo na ‘yung mga taong ‘yung trabaho walang sapat na kita. Kawawa naman sila, ganun. Hindi sila makakakain ng gusto nilang kainin. Hindi mabibili dahil sa mahal ng bilihin,” Armado remarked.  

Among the vulnerable from the soaring food prices was Nanay Brown, not her real name, whose budget only costs P100. She chooses vegetables over meat as it is more affordable and settles with alternative spices like the packets of seasoning. 

Bawang na lang, limang piso, ‘yun na lang ang ginagamit ko. Masarap din basta’t may Magic Sarap. Okay din sa mga apo ko,” she shared, in replacement to onions. 

The promised “change” is not what is happening now

The new administration birthed new expectations. Filipinos hoped that there would be changes for the better; however, the prices we see in the market tell the opposite for the citizens.

When asked about the campaign promise made by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos about the 20 pesos per kilo of rice, many became doubtful that it would actually happen. Nanay Dulce, a 60-year-old housewife and a mother, claimed it is not achievable. 

“Hindi ako siguradong magkakaroon ng ganyang presyo ng bigas. Ayan malamang 40 o 38 [pesos] pero sa bente, wala,” she expressed. 

Aling Cathy, a 41-year-old single mother, also cried out her frustration towards the rising prices in the market, which has led her to lose hope that things would change for the better.
“Walang pagbabago. Mas lalong tumataas ngayon. Ganun lang. Akala ko may magbabago pero wala. Mas lumalala. Kaya ang hirap magbudget lalo kung may nag-aaral pang bata,” she said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here