We are living in a time of global crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world economy, causing supply chain problems, inflation, and unemployment. The prices of basic commodities, such as oil and rice, have soared to unprecedented levels. Many Filipinos are struggling to make ends meet, and some are blaming the government for its poor handling of the situation.
But is the government really at fault? Can we expect our leaders to solve the problems that are beyond their control? We might understand better the endless price hikes if we look farther than the beaches of Bohol, or even farther outside the Philippine seas. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. No brilliant president nor Pinoy economists can tame the external market forces and geopolitical realities.
One of the main factors that affect the prices of oil and rice is the demand and supply in the international market. The Philippines is a net importer of both commodities, meaning we consume more than we produce. We depend on other countries to supply us with these essential goods. However, due to the pandemic, many countries have reduced their production and exports, creating a shortage in the global market. This drives up the prices of oil and rice, and we have no choice but to pay more for them.
Another factor that influences the prices of oil and rice is the political situation in the world. The Philippines is a strategic ally of the United States, which is involved in several conflicts and tensions with other countries, such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. These conflicts affect the stability and security of the regions where oil and rice are produced or transported. For example, the US sanctions on Iran have disrupted its oil exports, affecting the global supply and price of oil. Similarly, the US-China trade war has affected the trade and price of rice.
We could buy cheap Russian oil and boatloads of Chinese/Vietnamese rice. But US won’t like that. If we do, US will freeze our assets. Instead, we’ve allowed them to build more bases in our country in preparation for the looming Taiwan conflict. Meanwhile, gas and food prices are skyrocketing.
We are mere flies watching two carabaos fighting. We should position ourselves in a place where it’s safe and secure. But it looks like we are riding at the back of one carabao who has fought every herd that gets on his way. The results can be disastrous.
Therefore, we should not blame our government for the rising prices. Instead, we should understand that they are doing their best to cope with the challenges that are beyond their control. We should also do our part to conserve our resources and support our local producers. We should be united and resilient in facing this crisis together as a nation.