Sunday, February 12, 2006

8 OUT OF 10

February 10, 2006


Estimates by independent think-tank IBON Foundation show that 8 out of 10 families or some 83% of the country's families are poor, based on the January 2006 national average daily cost of living for a family of six of P538.80 and the 2003 Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES).

This is in contrast to government's estimate that only 24.7% of the country's families fell under its annual per capita poverty threshold of P12,267. If the international poverty measurement counting those living under $2 a day as poor is used, then over 87% of the country's families are poor.

IBON estimates that 17 million workers suffer from job scarcity, but even those who have work hardly earn enough to meet their needs. The daily minimum wage in Metro Manila is P325 (P275 legislated wage plus P50 emergency cost of living allowance), not even half of IBON's estimated daily cost of living for a family of six in the capital of P654.96.

The real value of wages itself has been further devalued by the rising prices of basic goods and services. The purchasing power of the peso, or the actual amount of goods and services one peso can buy, has fallen to P0.74 in January 2006 from P0.79 in the same month last year.

This means that the real value of the minimum wage in the NCR has declined to 240.50 from P256.75 in the same period last year. One of the factors that contributed to the slide in the purchasing power of the peso was the implementation of the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) in November. The peso's purchasing power is expected to further diminish with the recent increase of the EVAT to 12 percent. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc.
3/F SCC Bldg 4427 Interior Old Sta. Mesa, Manila

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