I happened to come across Oil and Consumers Price Watch principal player Mr. Raul Concepcion again in TV this morning. He was saying that the oil price roll backs made by oil companies recently will hopefully bring down prices of commodities. Right and wrong. Probably he is right in the world of Business, and absolutely wrong in the world of end consumers. Otherwise Mr. Raul Concepcion could be lost in the jungle of economic theories which could be different from the world of realities, space and time.
First is the theory about De-regulation (coupled with Supply and Demand) that the price of commodities should be let alone by themselves, to be determined by supply and demand. This is one ideal that no way I am saying is nonsense or trash. But against realities of place and time, I have my doubts about it. I am referring to critical prime factors of course, like energy, wages, foods and selected national industries.
De-regulation has something in common with Karl Marx’s theory of Abolition of State or a Stateless society. I think they are both equally incomprehensible at present. Dreams when they come ahead of time. Dogmas when applied too much ahead of time
State is about force and enforcement. Force is about laws, rules, and regulations. Enforcement is about making everyone follow what is stated by the force or there will be chaos. Deregulation and Stateless society? This is probable when (or if?) man, each and everyone, will have attained the highest degree of self consciousness as envisioned. A highly self disciplined society has been dreamed.
Now where’s Mr. Concepcion in there? Yeah, secondly, he was in effect saying that prices of consumer commodities fluctuate conforming with the primary factors. He was referring to the decline of crude in the world market that he expects everything to follow suit. Now I am reminded that maybe it’s time again that I should visit old home and Binalbagan. I spend most of my time when I’m in there, in Canmoros. It is a Barangay by the beach… Stretching me on the not-so-clean beach, day dreaming while watching the waves felt very refreshing.
Binalbagan is also called Banwang Panganay. [Modern, Literal: First-born town] It is one of two Malay first settlements in the island of Buglas, which is what ancient Malay settlers called Negros Island. Buglas is believed by some to mean North star. Old dialect refers to northern hemisphere and northern heavens as Ka’buglas’an. Another word Ka’bug means nocturnal bat. North is translated na-amihan. But ami or amihan denotes season as it also translates to prime season (crop) and northerly (wind). In native dialect Buglas is also used to mean free as in snapping free of a rope or a chain; Separation.
At least to the Malays who settled in Western Visayas, Kabuglasan probably also referred to their whole new world in, around, and north of now Negros Island. When Ferdinand Magellan came in 1521, he declared the whole archipelago as a property of Spain. Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, later, also did a similar pronouncement that gave the country now its name.
Ruy López de Villalobos, the commander of an expedition that sailed from New Spain (now Mexico) in 1542, claimed the islands for Spain and named them Islas Filipinas, in honor of Charles I’s son and heir Philip, who reigned as Philip II of Spain from 1556 to 1598.
MS Encarta library
Canmoros is the site of the earliest malay settlement in Binalbagan. In the 1800s, a marauding Moro party from the south once landed in there thus its name. But did not somebody make some wrong perception? Like, maybe they (must be Maranaw tribe) came to make friends, or maybe to replenish provisions like hunt or water, instead of attempting to kidnap isolated communities to make them slaves? Anyway, as town tradition has put it, it was all empty huts the Moro saw as natives had retreated inland. But apparently those (Maranaws, Maguindanaws, whatever) were not fooled if they came for trouble. As people fell back inland they also gathered force. Just a case of scared people, I suppose, as things did not come to worst.
Canmoros used to be a community at the mouth of Binalbagan River until the river changed course to a place now called Nabuswang [Fluid breaking free] a couple of miles north, about three quarters of a century ago. Canmoros is one nice place to be when you’re in Binalbagan. I rate it First class compared to Guam’s Ipao beach but fourth or fifth class if compared to Boracay and Palawan beaches. Why, must be about Negros denuded forestlands and mud siltation spewed by Binalbagan River every coming of rains.
Now, what has beaches, seas and waves got to do with Mr. Concepcion? Oh yeah, waves – movement of price of commodities in the manner of waves. I think prices of consumer commodities behave more like poured concrete masonry aggregates rather than in the manner of ocean waves. One has to chisel off (or cannot they be manipulated by State?) at them to bring them to their ideal forms. Let’s take sugar for example. While mill-gate prices fluctuate, supermarket prices are stable. While primary factors may act erratically, end consumer figures show steady rise with that of inflation.Where consumer prices have pushed out, they rarely recede.
Transport sector, for example, is quick to cite fuels price increase why they must increase tariffs and fares. But there will be a thousand reasons by them why they cannot lower prices down when fuels have decreased. And then there are the local traders and grocers with the same reasons as that of transport. The simple man in the street does not understand the optimism of Mr. Concepcion.
No man is an island. Indeed, as pointed out by GMA in her last SONA, the country is just a victim of international influence. Let’s take world inflation. Regarding that, the business sector is easily adjusted, in fact updated, conforming to international standards. And in fact, by International standard, I think there is nothing ab-surd about many things like MERALCO’s power rates.
Problem is the cumulative effect of constant efforts by the State to suppress wages. Filipinos are now paid about 10% only of what their counterparts are getting in developed democracies. A carpenter in Guam is paid $10.00 per hour or $80.00 a day. That’s P3, 680.00 a day plus time-and-a-half in overtime. A Filipino carpenter in the domestic front earns P350.00 a day. Now, that really is down with MERALCO! Its rates are indeed ab-surd!
[A haven for industrial cut throats is what government has made the country to entice foreign investors – its main idea of development and progress. But a cut throat economy also contains many negative turn-offs. One of them is social unrest.]
Lastly, nice guy Mr. Raul Concepcion really is. However small he may have achieved, where would Filipino consumers be today if he did not keep nagging the oil companies? Let’s give him our hands on that, folks!
No regulation and Stateless society, today? I may agree that between bad regulation and no regulation, the latter is no doubt much better. But maybe Congress should make the job of people like Mr. Raul Concepcion less difficult if not obsolete. Meaning? People ought to be sitting pretty while State does all the hard work!