Ramblings of a Worried Father

(This came out in my Candid Thoughts column of Sun.Star Cebu’s May 15, 2008 issue.)

I thought this year’s summer would be longer, but after the sun refused to come out the past few days, I must admit I was wrong. I heard Pag-asa say the rainy season is back, and it showed with the continuous rain and Butchoy and Cosme. There was a time when the green in our place would turn brown after prolonged summer. Not this year.

I don’t now if prolonged rain is a boon or not. Farmers may be more productive this time although the extreme, like the constant battering of storms, is dangerous to crops, properties and lives. And when you consider that a tornado killed thousands of people in Myanmar, you begin to worry. Almost always, it is the poor who suffers.

As for worries, I worry now more than at any other period in my married life. It has become increasingly difficult for us now to keep family spending within my salary level. Unfortunately, there is no assurance that spending won’t outstrip by a mile our earning considering the deteriorating economic situation in the country and abroad.

The threat of a P1 per week increase in the price of gasoline in the coming days would ensure an increase in the fare of jeepneys, buses and taxis. Even the price of liquefied petroleum gas is rising. Consider that electricity rates have long put pressure on our daily budget. Add to that the rising prices of basic commodities, specifically rice.

Without the corresponding increase in wages, there is now a need to find ways to augment the family income. Thus far, it has been a difficult balancing act of borrowing money, paying it off and then borrowing again. If the downward spiral of the economy continues, I don’t know how to keep ourselves on an even keel. That’s my worry.

What I am saying is that if professionals like us are already feeling the pinch, how much more for the ordinary workers and the unemployed? I do not blame people, then, who are now starting to be restive. The grumbling is intensifying. In a volatile situation like this, government must show concern and not light a fire through official misconduct.

The situation can, admittedly, stoke the fire of revolution, although even leaders of the revolution would agree that many people have still to see it as our only way out of this mess. A big chunk of the population still believes that salvation lies in their leaving the Philippines either to work abroad or to live in other countries for good. Sad but true.

But back to the weather. Our only consolation in times when clouds darken the sky is the thought of tomorrow, or a new day. Hope, they say, still springs eternal.

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