Sunday, February 13, 2011

Living through Jeepney Fare Increases

It has been a month since I last posted here. Work activities and self-imposed writing deadlines covered most of my waking hours. Recent news had only been glimpsed from the newspaper headlines on the streets.

Thus it was to my surprise when I noticed a small signboard inside a jeep that says “Simula po Feb. 2 ang minimum na pasahe na po ay P8.” I realized that outside the walls of the workplace, things are changing. And that change that smacked me right in the face was the jeepney fare increase.

My restlessness could have only been pacified by reading through the news stating the reason(s) for effecting the increase. And that was it: increase in oil prices in the world market [in which, quite unfortunately, our oil prices (and fares) are heavily depended].

“Change” and “certainly” increase in whatever form is always an added burden to the common Filipino. It does not matter if you, chance reader, get to pay for the new fare readily. It does not matter if those in the problematic state they call “middle class” gets to pay for the fuel regardless of increases. The issue is how well the majority of the citizens weather such increases – increases that usually involve money.

Think of those students mixed in the sea of commuters we see everyday, budgeting his or her little money, thinking how food for the day can be squeezed in the listing of expenses. Most often, fare eats up most of their allowances. This is just one little situation, one I can openly talk about because I once experienced those tight conditions. But then on the other side is the plight of the drivers, most of whom need money in order to have food on their tables by dinnertime.

This is one mud pit I am always disgusted of – being dependent on something not entirely within our hands (world market oil prices) but having no choice but to swallow it all up. I still hold the belief that there was a lapse in judgment when the Oil Deregulation Law was integrated in our society.

New laws, alternative fuel, and new energy sources are all around us, buzzing like irritating insects in our ears. But are they here? physically felt I mean? Forgive this seemingly unrelated analogy but, can policymakers and perhaps the government itself be able to outmatch the impact of Pacquiao’s fight when it comes to our fuel or oil problems? This may seem vague for now. My only concluding point (or perhaps concluding question) is how we will bring the benefits of the laws right up to the doorstep of the common Filipino.

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