The Senate employees are the envy of the town following Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s announcement of the increase of their inflationary allowance to P50,000 from P12,000. The upper chamber of the Philippine Congress has savings for it, according to the Mindanao lawmaker.
Rising prices of commodities, especially the basic necessities, brought about by inflation are indeed hurting the pockets of not just the Senate employees but also of the rank and file employees in other government offices and in the private sector.
It is good that the Senate is looking after the welfare of its rank and file employees.
The chamber’s employees welcomed the increase. But isn’t the allowance’s 316.6 percent increase too steep? Did the Senate conduct a study before reaching the amount of increase? Remember these employees are receiving their regular salaries.
However, one can argue that the cost of living in Metro Manila is higher than that of any other place in the Philippines. In economics, cost of living refers to the amount of money needed to maintain a certain standard of living in a particular place. It is often used as a measure of the general level of prices for goods and services in a given area, and takes into account various expenses such as housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and other essential needs.
Cebu’s cost of living is definitely lower than that of Metro Manila, but Cebu residents are also feeling the ill effects of inflation.
Perhaps, the Senate’s move can set a precedent for other government agencies and companies in the private sector to provide inflationary allowances for their employees, especially those in the rank and file.
Giving such an allowance or instituting a wage hike can help the employees’ families and could spur spending; however, there is a downside to people having more money to spend because inflation in the country could not ease.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has increased interest rates to slow down borrowing and spending in hopes of cooling off inflation.
Private companies, for sure, will not be keen on giving an inflationary allowance or increasing their employees’ current allowances because they themselves are dealing with inflation.
The Senate has the guts to increase its employees’ inflationary allowance because it is not a private company that depends on revenues it generates from its services and products.
The upper chamber is fueled by Filipinos’ taxes—it does not have to bother to rake in revenues.
February 22, 2023
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