It is the season of belt-tightening.
The Philippines has a tradition of having the longest celebration of the Christmas season. The countdown starts from the time the month of September comes in. By this time, Christmas songs begin to play in malls and other public places.
This is the favorite part of the year of every Filipino. The season highlights some of our remarkable traits as a people. Generosity, selflessness, family-oriented and value to friendships.
It is the season of parties, gatherings, reunions, and bonding.
One significant part of this merry-making is the food on the table and the gift-giving.
But this year we are forced to cut cost due to the skyrocketing prices of basic goods and other commodities and this is mainly attributable to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) act which is the first package of the tax reform program of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the December 5, 2018 article of Bloomberg, it described the rising inflation as the grinch that is stealing Christmas in the country.
“Christmas will be a little less merry this year for Filipinos as soaring prices force many families to scrimp on festive food and gifts,” Bloomberg wrote.
True enough, the food that a typical Filipino family usually have during the season specially during the traditional Noche Buena and Media Noche like the Christmas ham, fruit salad, queso de bola is more expensive now than the previous years.
Even the gift-giving will be affected this year notwithstanding the receipt of employees of their 14th-month pay as provided by law and other incentives and bonuses.
In the Bloomberg article cited above, media professional Patricia Chiu shared how she cut down in giving presents this year in order to cut cost.
“I used to buy individual gifts for all extended family members. Now, I’m giving just one per branch of family. So I’ve cut down from around 20 or more gifts to four,” she said.
The country’s inflation rate was at 6.7% for both the months of September and October. It decreased to 6% in November but this did not really bring the prices to its original affordable levels.
As already stated, the incumbent government’s tax policy is the primary reason behind the sky-high inflation. But President Duterte and his economic managers are not the only ones who should be blamed for causing economic hardship to the people.
The lawmakers both from Senate and the House of Representatives who passed into law the burdensome TRAIN law are equally responsible. Please take note that the law was approved by an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress, thus, it is impractical to mention each of the names of the legislators who are deemed conspirators in making the lives of the people more difficult.
However, a special space in this article is reserved for the pro-TRAIN senators who are running for reelection. Remember their names and faces: Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Koko Pimentel, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar.
The six cannot later on make a sudden turn around by simply calling for the suspension of the implementation of the law. When they casted their vote of approval for the said legislative measure, they should have studied first its negative impact to the people.
Former senator Mar Roxas was right when he assailed these flip-flopping senators.
“It’s funny how those who voted for TRAIN are now calling for its suspension. Hindi puwede yung ganyan dahil may mga kababayan tayong nagugutom at nawawalan ng pagkakakitaan,” Roxas said
On May 13, 2019, when voting for your new set of senators and congressmen, consider first their past voting record as well as their declared or planned legislative agenda. Those who have a history of enabling the Duterte regime and its anti-poor policies, like the six reelectionist senators who authored, defended and actually voted in favor of the TRAIN law, should not be given another privilege of becoming a member of Congress.