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“No comment” on High Gas Prices

Some week ago, when Southern Leyte Times asked City hall and the provincial capitol for reasons about why gasoline prices are so high in Maasin City compared to other places, their answer was uniform: No comment. They left the townspeople face a blankwall. The motorcab drivers found themselves with no one from government, at least, to sympathize with them; while the other city motorists could only wonder and ask why? City hall and capitol should have given our motorists some reasons, even if unconvincing and unbelievable. But it’s obvious that gas prices in Sogod had been lower by P20; days ago Petron had P73.80/liter for unleaded in Maasin. Why couldn’t they just say that transport costs directly caused the price spike; to just say “No comment” spells ignorance or derelection of duty. Are they not supposed to regulate prices in favor of consumers? What about the Consumers Act and the rights of consumers? Where is government here? Do public servants still fuction as they should? What direction are they going to, to the next elections in 2022?
Was the spike in the prices of basic commodities planned for the elections? Look at how the ceiling in the prices of fish at the wet market had gone beyond the means of poor and ordinary consumers. The supposed regulated prices per ordinance have gone unfair, even unjust to poor consumers. Fish classification and corresponding prices send us Maasinhons to the point of despair. Did they not say we have the highest fish prices in the world? Even on the regional level, don’t we have the highest fish prices in Leyte and Samar? Why is it that fish cars are bypassing Maasin as they go direct to Matalom, Bato or Baybay City? Is Maasin’s fish supply mismanaged? One can see and observe the smooth flow of fish deliveries in Bato where fish cars are aplenty.
Maasin’s wet market is supposed to be modern because its renovation cost the city P42 million; yet it leaks of rainwater from the roof when its rains and its stalls are too costly for those who rent. And vegetables and spices are as costly as Maasinhons ever imagined. And yet there are many vacant stalls because other renters left for good. So when will the city attain its return on its multi-million investment? It need not impose high rentals so that other small businessmen can afford rents with good opportunity for higher mark-up on their goods for sale.
Those in the government should think better of services that redound to the benefit of the general public. And what about the fish landing building near the wet market? Is this now being managed by an association of fishermen? If not, it will be mismanaged and the same high prices of fish would come and go. And Maasin’s having the costliest fish in Region 8 would now remain a stigma in its history as a city.
Maasinhons have been living a life far beyond comforts of other cities younger than Maasin, yet the horizon still remains foreboding especially because the tricks of Smartmatic are still there to lead us to worse election results and subversion of the people’s will. Only the heavens can lead us to where we should be, years from now, or even days from here on. But I see some new glimmering hope on the eastern horizon. The law of diminishing returns is showing some signs of gaining some effects on those who wield political power for so long.
Who knows that next year some political fragrance will fill the air for us all to breathe in fresh air of hope and confidence.

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