IT’S barely 13 days to go before we finally celebrate the much-awaited season of the year; a season where cheer and merriment seem to engulf whatever problems we may have in our economic life. Despite being deep in financial obligations or committed to several liabilities, Filipinos still have the courage and temerity to celebrate Christmas in their own special way. In fact, we Filipinos occasionally set aside the settlement of pending liabilities in favor of making a joyous celebration of the holiday season, then let tomorrow take care of itself.
Filipinos have our own special way of celebrating Christmas. Aside from the fact that we look forward to its coming because of the financial amenities that go with it, it is a time when we likewise look forward to meeting old friends and relatives to celebrate the season. Sometimes more than the spiritual intention of this time of the year, it is viewed as an opportunity to acquire new properties, gadgets or devices that would satisfy our whims and caprices and enhance our status.
More often than not, we skip saving at this time of the year despite having more than enough income to be able to do so. We always adhere to that common practice and notion that this season comes but once in a year, so we should make the most out of it. This belief comes with a price, though. Because we tend to spend lavishly this season, sometimes we spend more than what we can afford. While accelerated spending is economically favorable to local growth, it could be fatal to individual finances.
The abundance we experienced during the merriest month of the year will turn into a financial tragedy after the season is over. Scarcity becomes a normal occurrence when we come back to our senses in the early month of January — realizing the opportunities you have foregone for the sake of the season; the savings you should have realized, investment you should have made, charities you should have supported.
These are now lost opportunities in exchange for a momentary blissful experience. Most, if not all of us, fall into a trap of temporary relief from a life of continuous struggle. It is not a phenomenon that we want to escape from but an event that we want to experience repeatedly. People would normally trade fleeting moments to spend the season and engage in deficit spending, which benefits our macroeconomic scenario. On the aggregate it creates growth thanks to massive consumer spending. This is a traditional annual occurrence as reflected in our gross domestic product (GDP); personal consumption expenditure will always save the day for our GDP growth.
As such, the savings that should have been generated because of opportunities present in the holiday season have not been realized. In lavishly celebrating the event we lose the opportunity to invest, an experience that could save the country from additional foreign and local borrowings. These are normative factors that influence one’s economic decision. Consumers tend to impose or adapt to certain prescribed standards, institutional or individual. But one thing is sure, that during the holiday season, most of us tend to move in one direction, spend all the resources that are available, then let tomorrow take of itself.
The grant of emergency powers to the President because of the impending power crisis come summer of next year only proves that there indeed is a crisis. No matter what the President will do with this power, it is inevitable that we the consumers will take the brunt of this punishment. Is there any other way by which we can avoid this impending punishment? As of now, there is none. The most that we can do at the moment is to expect the worst and be consoled by words of encouragement from the authorities.
Although we are not here to play the blame game, why was it not addressed beforehand? We are on the fifth year of PNoy’s term and nothing has been done to address the issue, or was it a complete oversight on the part of the energy czar? The looming energy crisis, no matter how you look at it, is a product of oversight.
For comments e-mail; doc.ejlopez @gmail.com.