Years ago, I travelled to Cebu and was amused to see stores selling cold water from automatic dispensers for P1, these dispensers could be found scattered in the market section and served as an oasis for parched travelers. Coming from the boondocks, where nothing of that kind operated, of course I was curious, so there I went to buy cold water, put in a plastic bag, sans the straw, for one peso, my thirst was quenched and my curiosity appeased.
After the peso thirst quencher, there came the “pisonet’ phenomenon, where you can browse the net starting from a measly peso at strategically placed computer shops. For those just checking or sending
single files, this became increasingly useful especially for the cash strapped student without a laptop and
stable internet connection. As my amusement for the one-peso thirst quencher and the low pay internet connection waned, I then realized that there were far and in-between things that a peso can buy which will
The dwindling value of the piso, has presented itself in the most painful of times. Today, as inflation looms
for most countries, the weak peso fails to impress the weary shopper whose cart has dwindled like the Philippine currency. My trip to the grocery store consisted of surprise after surprise, with the escalating
cost of each commodity, I was left with a lighter bag to carry home, grateful that I could still carry home a bag in the first place as so many cannot. There is a problem worldwide and the surveys will paint a somber picture.
The national Social Weather Survey of April 19-27, 2022, found that 12.2% of Filipino families, or an estimated 3.1 million, experienced involuntary hunger – being hungry and not having anything to eat – at least once in the past three months. The April 2022 Hunger rate is 0.4 points above the 11.8% (estimated 3.0 million families) in December 2021, and 2.2 points above the 10% (estimated 2.5 million families)
in September 2021. Globally, as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night, the number of
those facing acute food insecurity has soared – from 135 million to 345 million – since 2019.
A total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the edge of famine. It is October, two months
short of the happiest season of the year, the season where not only love and joy abounds, but also, an overwhelming amount of food on a festive table ideally. The piso is stretched to the maximum if only to appease the need to be festive, let this season be a test to the creativity of the Filipino.