Gov’t officials dared: Try living on P71 a day
Government officials claiming that P10,727 is the minimum amount for a family’s monthly needs should try living on a P71-per-day budget, an opposition lawmaker said on Friday.
House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate blasted as an insult to Filipinos pronouncements by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that such is the minimum amount a family needs to buy food and nonfood items.
“Why don’t our economic managers try to live off on P71 a day? The Filipino people are suffering from high prices of goods, soaring taxes compounded by their low wages, and yet, they give out these kinds of statements, which is an insult to them,” he said.
On Wednesday, Rosalinda Bautista, PSA deputy national statistician, said a “no-frills” meal that a Filipino family of five can enjoy in a day will just cost them P7,528 of monthly food budget.
A monthly budget of P3,199 for nonfood items can also supposedly sustain the family.
Based on this threshold, the PSA said that poverty incidence fell to 12.1 percent, down from 16.6 percent in 2018 and 23.3 percent in 2015.
In 2018, around 5.9 million Filipinos were no longer considered poor, according to the PSA.
The government’s claims, however, did not sit well with the Bayan Muna lawmaker.
He said the country’s economic managers are making poor Filipinos scrimp on their basic needs to justify not raising the “stagnant” wage levels of workers in both private and public sectors.
“There is no justification for wage increases, or the passage of House Bill No. 246, which sets a P750 national minimum daily wage, and HB 247 which mandates a minimum monthly salary of P16,000 for government employees,” Zarate said.
Former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said the country’s economic managers, led by National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia confirmed with their statements that the Duterte government “neglects the poor by the very denial of their poverty.”
But instead of challenging economic managers to let their families live on P10,727 a month, Casilao said officials should be made to live with poor families supposedly to let them realize their mistake.
“No genuine antipoverty program or policy could come out from the seemingly endless denial stage of government officials to Filipino poverty,” he said.
Casilao urged the Filipino public to condemn what he termed as “insensitive and crystal clear false statement.”
“The Filipino people do not deserve this kind of government. It should be held accountable for abandoning its mandate to uplift the marginalized from poverty and misery,” he said.
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