THE Labor Day celebration on May 1 will be merrier and more colorful than in the past two years because this year’s May has the mid-term election. And as a matter of time-honored norm you will see a colony of street parliamentarians compelling the ruling party to make good of the promised poverty alleviation.
Among the hottest and pressing issues the nonconformists bark is “itaas ang sahud ng mga manggagawa,” citing the skyrocketing price increase of prime commodities versus the prevailing minimum daily wage.
The threshold or poverty line for a Filipino family of five according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is P10,481 a month: P7,337 for food and P3,144 for the non-food.
The P7,337 for food: For five persons to survive with P7,337, the computation would come out to have P16 per meal or P50 a day, excluding snacks. This is worse and tighter than a life inside a prison facility that has P70 a day budget for meals.
The P3,144 for non-food: For five persons to stay in a not so cramp room in Davao city, the monthly rental is ranging from P2,000 to P3,500. Added to it are the electricity, water, clothing, transportation, and education and personal care effects.
The boys and girls of this administration, including Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo partook in this conspiracy of hoax, insulting the numerical aptitude of the poor Juan dela Cruz. After the PSA’s announcement of this rubbish survey of threshold, Panelo highlighted the Duterte administration for doing a significant stride to address the long-standing issue of poverty.
He also commends the government agencies, including the PSA for doing their respective jobs with commitment and fervor. PSA’s validation is indeed an integral part of the conspiracy to cover-up the government’s failure to make good of the long overdue promise to increase the daily wages somehow the family will savor a warm and nutritious food on their table.
The wage board should have used the same basis and methods of computation for a family of five to survive. By doing so, the one third ratio of food budget from the salary could have been maintained as recommended by the statistics bureau since 1963. This debatable, meager and conservative statistical figure, denied the severity of poverty; and a lame excuse to negate the increase of salaries which is tantamount to neglecting the agonizing people.
National Economic and Development Authority is correct in their estimate that a family of five needs P42,000 a month with the assumption that at least two of five in the family is earning P21,000 each and exempted from paying income tax.
It is only a sad reality that 90 percent of the Filipinos is earning less than P20,000 a month. This means receiving a daily wage of P396 which is prevailing in Davao city belong to the 23.1 million Filipinos with the income falling below the poverty threshold.
Unless the salary will dramatically increase, the Filipino people will remain in the survival mode and a victim of long running hoax.