Monday, September 10, 2018

Tinola is now a luxury

This tinola pic from Kaukau Time! blog

Nearly a week or so after the scandalous Php1k/kilo of sili, the Agriculture Secretary Manny PiƱol himself tells the public that they should plant sili for self-sufficiency. I mean, sure. But where will the ordinary office bound Pinoy worker find the time to plant bahay kubo vegetables if they're still stuck in traffic? 

This article by the Inquirer looks at those in the informal sector who are hardest hit by the inflation: an ambulant vendor and a tricycle driver with a family to feed. They can no longer afford tinola--something that I had encountered when trying to buy ingredients the last time I went to the market--and have to set aside half of the hotdog and tilapia they had for lunch and have it for dinner. 

The prevailing minimum wage in the National Capital Region is Php512, and if it wasn't enough before, it certainly isn't enough to catch up with the 19.2% and 12% rise in price for vegetables and fish. There are groups that want to raise the minimum wage to Php750 and to provide discounts for basic commodities. 

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines also lobbies the government to curb the rise of inflation and its effects on the poor. “The unemployed are obviously scraping what’s left at rock bottom in order to survive. Workers in the informal economy — since they do not have a fixed income — also feel very insecure.” 

Vendor Rose says that the government should shift its priorities away from illegal drugs. If the ordinary Pinoy is working as hard as she can but can no longer afford even simple meals, what is left to do? Rose feels lucky that she's single and doesn't have a family and therefore only has to fend for herself. But she can't get sick. There is no safety net. She insists that they don't need subsidies either. “What we need are permanent solutions that would really have an impact on our lives.” 

The question is how to get there. 

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