In­fla­tion: An elec­tion is­sue

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

Soon the Ad­vent sea­son will ar­rive and af­ter this, the sea­son of Christ­mas. Small to big time traders are try­ing to cash in and have started to raise prices of goods and ser­vices.

It is in­cum­bent upon the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try to mon­i­tor the mar­kets and en­sure that prices are within rea­son­able ranges and we sup­port ev­ery ini­tia­tive to pre­vent ex­ces­sive prof­i­teer­ing and the de­fraud­ing of con­sumers.

At the same time, the pub­lic would be well ad­vised to re­mem­ber that the real gifts of Christ­mas are not the ones money can buy.

In a na­tion rent apart by po­lit­i­cal strife, de­lib­er­ate ef­forts to­ward greater ci­vil­ity in re­la­tions and con­ver­sa­tions both on­line and off­line would be a wel­come gift to all.

Con­cil­ia­tory visits to fam­ily and friends long es­tranged, shar­ing of re­sources with the less for­tu­nate, acts of sol­i­dar­ity for vic­tims of in­jus­tice would like­wise be more pre­cious than all the con­sumer items of­fered at the Christ­mas mid­night sale.

That said, the govern­ment nev­er­the­less needs to step in and take prac­ti­cal steps to con­trol ris­ing prices of com­modi­ties that do not seem po­si­tioned for a roll­back af­ter Christ­mas. Un­abated in­fla­tion is there­fore an elec­tion con­cern.

The cam­paign for elec­tive pub­lic po­si­tions in May 2019 should be an arena where can­di­dates who can present prac­ti­ca­ble so­lu­tions for pre­serv­ing if not strength­en­ing the pur­chas­ing power of the peso may speak and court well-de­served sup­port.

At the level of the Se­nate and the Lower House, we need leg­is­la­tors who can build con­sen­sus in their re­spec­tive cham­bers for re­vi­sions to the tax laws de­signed to re­tard ru­n­away in­fla­tion.

In the lo­cal gov­ern­ments, we need of­fi­cials who can build en­abling en­vi­ron­ments for small and medium en­ter­prises and other forms of liveli­hood, and the open­ing of more em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with de­cent wages.

Of­fi­cials should have the in­tegrity to en­sure that pro­grams like con­di­tional cash trans­fer are strictly ad­min­is­tered so that they truly ben­e­fit the tar­get fam­i­lies who need more than ever to be shielded from price shocks.

Leg­is­la­tors and ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cials are needed who can pres­sure the Depart­ment of En­ergy to fi­nally in­au­gu­rate an era of de­creas­ing de­pen­dence on fos­sil fu­els and non-re­new­able en­ergy.

This would sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce pro­duc­tion costs across the econ­omy and jus­tify price mark­downs not to men­tion other ben­e­fits like sav­ings in health and en­vi­ron­ment costs.

Let us elect of­fi­cials who have an in­te­grated ap­proach to fight­ing in­fla­tion that bal­ances care for the pur­chas­ing power of the peso, work­ers’ wel­fare, and the start of a green regime.

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