Rewrites of Jottings: ECONOMIC TWIST REDUX
“The projected rice shortfall in the third quarter would be easily met by cheaper rice imports.” – senior agri official who asked not to be identified.
“Rice carries a weight of 10-15% in the consumer price index (CPI),” say analysts.
· Now we also know the culprits that keep sugar retail prices so high. According to Wilson Gamboa, Sugar Regulatory Administration head, “the sugar industry hid behind the shield of a domestic market forced to purchase expensive sugar”. How expensive? If tariffs on imported sugar are kept at 100% (which doubles the price), the sugar industry can still sing “happy days are here again”. But if the AFTA, the ASEAN trade association, pushes the application of the schedule bringing the tariff down to 52%, the sugar industry cannot compete!
· Not all news in the economic front are gloomy for the consumer. Farmers in the North plan to shift their crops from tobacco to corn, in protest to the new excise taxes imposed on cigarettes. The shift may help ease a corn shortage and high prices but will make the farmers miserable and still not curb the country’s craving for the addictive drug nicotine.
· If the product being advertised is so great, why then is it compared to the leading brand?
· Deregulation of the shipping industry spawned a slew of fast ferries plying the Visayas and
· Good news for all air travelers: Japan’s grant (aid) to upgrade facilities and improve training methods of the Civil aviation Training Center that trains Filipino air traffic controllers will help make our airspace safer for domestic and foreign flights.
· The list of those who value precision global time (GMT) is growing. Joining Xavier U. is CEPALCO. Individuals owning precision timepieces with a quartz movement can synchronize their time to the two.
· Built-in obsolescence: throwaway vehicles given gratis for police operations sans funds for their maintenance and gas.
· Never ending story: tale of busted traffic lights on one junction, after hiatus, fixed in the nick of time as the next junction’s light conks out, as if on one. If we do not have the means to keep simple items in running order, should we expect to keep the complex ones working reliably?
· Newly appointed Traffic Caesar (Czar) Ramon Tabor, city councilor par excellence, plans to compile a Traffic Code from a collection of pertinent Ordinances and Executive Orders. The compiled code will then be used to brief enforcers, and presumably, to re-educate errant drivers. It is hoped that the re-education would include, as a social obligation, the conventions of polite motoring.
· A proposal to obtain TMEB clearance as a pre-requisite of driver’s license renewal seems, at first, a clever method to identify habitual traffic offenders for eventual cancellation of license. On second thought, the idea loses luster because it adds an extra step to an already cumbersome process and provides an opportunity for “squeeze play”, the come-across-or-else game. This step punishes the vast majority for the sins of a few.
COUNTER CLOCKWISE (CCW)
· From a consumer viewpoint, the main drawback of oil deregulation is the fact that an oil price hike urges a petition for a fare increase which, if granted, is irreversible, even when oil prices subside.