Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Gastos here, Gastos there: Inflation and its Impact on College Students

by Paul Ray G. Donaire | October 12, 2022

“Huh? Isa ka sud-an ra man unta akong gi-order.” 

That was the first thing that came to mind when I ordered a meal at a local karinderya, which cost me roughly about ₱70.  

“As in? Mahala ‘ba.”

Then, there was one time I had lunch at Silliman University Cafeteria and ordered rice with fried chicken and some sort of green strings valued at around ₱135 that left me to ponder for a moment, “Unta nag-Jollibee na lang ko. Halos pareha ra man gasto.” 

Do you know the feeling of BADLY NEEDING to spend less because you live in a residence hall on a tight budget? Or that you’re overly conscious of your parent’s financial obligations to let you study at one of the most expensive universities in the country?

In all honesty, I feel as though I’m becoming a burden to mine.  

This column is not to call out the eateries I mentioned above, as I am confident, certain, and positive, without a doubt, that this is the outcome caused by the ripple effect of the inflation rate  which all business sectors are affected by. 

From ₱25 for three beef siomai balls at Master Siomai to ₱35; from ₱50 for large fries at Potato Corner to a 50 percent increase in its original price; and other retailers absorbing price hikes in response to inflation. I’m not even sure what necessity means anymore. 

Inflation rate dooms to endanger global food security where no one is exempt, regardless of socioeconomic background. Henceforth, it requires extensive reviews employing the lens of sociological imagination to pave the way for creating dialogue on personal troubles and public issues.  

Budgeting expenses is ultimately challenging for me as a college student when I still depend on my family. If this problem continues to deteriorate our economic state, what will happen to those financially struggling? What will it be for them? Should we stay silent and let it pass? To come forward and say “It’s a worldwide problem and there’s nothing we can do about it”?

This isn’t some kind of social phenomenon to be overlooked. It deserves public attention and priority from the government. But how come the new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has yet to present substantial countermeasures against inflation even after his first 100 days in service?

Remember, life is at stake here. The worst-case scenario is that inflation could drive us to world hunger where everyone, especially those who belong below the poverty line, can barely afford supplies and goods, not to mention the shortages of our local resources. So, the question arises: would this be another era of famine crisis in our country? We never know, but it’s best that we anticipate something that affects us publicly. 

Money is an integral part of society. It serves as a tool to boost and circulate the well-being of the economy. Considering the neo-liberal educational system that we have right now, the cycle of “Gastos here, Gastos there” continues to take a toll on students and their families who want nothing more than quality and excellence in higher education.

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