Skyrocketing gas prices and toll fees

ABOARD a Lawton-bound  air-conditioned public conveyance yesterday, I overheard a couple (seated not faraway from me) in their late forty’s debating over where to send their children (a boy and a girl) to college at the onset of the next school year.

The couple appears to be residing in a low-cost housing unit somewhere in Las Pinas. The mother works at City Hall, Manila, while the father is employed at a private establishment in Makati.

Their kids are college undergrads at the Dela Salle University and St. Scholas-tica’s College along Taft/near Taft Avenue, Manila. These are high-standard – and expensive – higher learning institutions in Manila. Every parent’s dream schools for their children,  and for whose grads a secure job, it is rumored, al-ways awaits.

Oddly enough, the couple’s debate was not centered on whether their children are coping with the high academic standard of both schools. It was about their family’s continuing ability to underwrite their daily expenses – including, of course, the children’s tuition fees, food, baon and fuel (they own a car for the family’s everyday use from the house to Metro Manila and back).

They are seriously concerned about the spiraling costs associated with Metro living. They are worried the skyrocketing gas/fuel  prices and the almost tripled toll fees may have suddenly impaired their financial capability to still have their kids continue their college studies at their respective current schools.

The couple’s apprehen-sion is not an isolated one. It is shared by hundreds similarly situated. By career couples who, in the beginning, were dwelling in rented  apartments around Metro Manila, but eventually lulled to try low-cost housing units that began to sprout in Metro outskirts, and accessible thru affordable  GSIS/PAG-IBIG loans.

Two decades back, acquiring such low-cost housing unit  was deemed an intelligent decision/option, especially for young career couples.  It was a welcome escape from cramped apartment units that proliferated like mushrooms around the Metro area. (To be continued) Alex Almario


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