OFWs are now feeling the crunch as Duterte’s TRAIN hatched decade high inflation plunged the real value of their average monthly remittance of Php20,000 to just Php16,982. This is Php1,078 lower from the real value recorded in the same period last year which was Php17,969.
There is no denying that Dutertenomics has accomplished much in propelling the Philippines to the top in almost all negative economic tables. The upsurge of the country’s inflation to a nine-year high of 6.4%, the highest in ASEAN, and the peso’s depreciation to its lowest in thirteen years exposes the regime’s incompetence in addressing the people’s economic woes.
More than ever, OFWs battered by political and economic upheavals in their host countries will have to take on severe austerity measures to conserve money for remittances so that their struggling families back home can keep up with the unabated price hikes brought about by Duterte’s TRAIN Law. For many, it would entail picking up side jobs and going overtime for extra cash.
For an economy reliant on debt-driven growth through Duterte’s Build Build Build program, the peso’s depreciation will increase the value of the country’s foreign debt and likewise will be a big blow to a country overly dependent on imports like the loathsome weevil-infested rice and the WPS-sourced galunggong which are paid in dollar terms.
High importations have resulted to the diminution of the country’s dollar reserves now at a 6-year low. To address this, the regime will again count on OFW dollar remittances but even these have become less reliable. This year’s January to June-cash remittances fell at 2.6%, the slowest first semester growth in 17 years.
Lest we forget that this year’s tormenting price increases are still under the first round of Duterte’s 5-phased TRAIN Law. Expect more excruciating price hikes in the coming years.
Contrary to the regime’s claim that the TRAIN Law will benefit Filipinos, it is the poor who are hit the hardest. Government spending for social services like education and healthcare is blighted with budget cuts. Intentionally, the regime is dragging down the Philippines’ human development ranking for the sake of subsidizing the private profit of the wealthy few even if it means taxing the poor to death.
Worst, these cutbacks on social services are matched with overspending on Duterte’s atrocious three-pronged war. In the face of the people’s sufferings, the regime even exhibited its extreme audacity to waste taxpayers’ money for its huge military junket during an overseas state-visit.
As how one economic expert puts it, Duterte’s TRAIN wreck is nothing but Tax Reform for Accelerating Inflation. By generating a series of crisis to address every crisis, Duterte is making a fool of himself in his stubborn devotion to regressive Neoliberal economics. Filipino migrant workers and their families will not just sit back and watch as the regime plagues the country with anti-people policies. There will be an outpouring of the Filipino people’s collective wrath against the Duterte regime.