Speak It Out

Work is my commitment. Learning is my passion. Faith is my strength. Love is my life.

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Location: Manila, Philippines

The name Ardythe:good war (Anglo-saxon); flowering field (Hebrew); spiritual prosperity (Swedish); Norwegian goddess.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Increase Here, Hike There, but Too Slow for the Laborer

‘Decent’ meals cost P27.71 a day in 2003

In 2003 a person living in Metro Manila needed at least P27.71 a day to satisfy his basic requirements for food. That meant a full meal for breakfast, lunch, snack and supper, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board.

But given the continuous increases in oil prices and the new fare rate, the board’s report obviously needs to be reviewed and updated.

The board said that in 2003 food menus for Metro Manila showed a person could eat tomato omelet, fried rice, drink coffee and milk for adults and children, respectively, for breakfast.

For lunch he could have fried galunggong, monggo guisado with small shrimp and malunggay leaves, boiled rice and latundan banana.

At dinner a person could eat pork adobo, pechay guisado and boiled rice; for snack, pan de sal with margarine.

For a full year a person living in Metro Manila needed P9,940 a day to meet his nutritional requirements.

Food threshold, or the food-poverty line, is the minimum cost of the food that satisfies nutritional requirements for economically and socially desirable physical activities.

The food menus are set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute and have 100-percent adequacy for energy and protein and 80-percent adequacy for vitamins and minerals.

The board said a person should eat the required nutrients set by the institute such as rice, white, ordinary, 350 grams; pan de sal, 50g; sugar, white, 15 g; margarine, 5; cooking oil, milk, filled evap, 33 g; egg, chicken, 23 g; small shrimps, 15; galunggong, 49 g; pork liver, 5 g; pork liempo, 15 g; monggo green, 10 g; tomatoes, 30g; banana, 68 g; coffee, soluble, 1 g; onion, 6g; garlic, 1; salt, 6 and vinegar coconut, 5g.

The board also noted that a family of five needs P5,111 monthly income to satisfy its basic food requirements.

"The P5,111 monthly income for a family of five at the national level is considered nonpoor," said Romulo A. Virola, secretary-general of the board.

Virola said a minimum wager earner in Metro Manila can support a family of five. The country’s minimum wage is P280 a day. In 2003 the poverty incidence dropped 24.7 percent from 27.5 percent in 2000. This means that 25 out of 100 Filipino families were poor in 2003 or did not earn enough to satisfy the minimum cost of basic necessities.

Poverty incidence is the proportion of families or individuals whose income is not enough to cover basic needs.

At a press briefing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri said that given the strong economic growth posted last year, the poverty incidence will further decline, but that the decrease could be offset by higher prices owing to oil price hikes. Darwin G. Amojelar (ABS-CBNNews.com)

Today a meal that is bought costs around Php35 that consists of rice and a meat viand. Sure that if one prepares and cooks the, then it would be a lot cheaper. However due to time constraints others cannot do that anymore.

It is a known fact that most of the Filipinos living in the Philippines only eat twice day, excluding snacks in their daily intake. Although FNRI actively promotes fortified foods, consumers are not that knowledgeable. Promotion and education is not that widespread. Another factor is that they do not appreciate it much.

Moreover, food is not the only factor which sustains a person. Other basic needs like shelter and clothing are also not given much importance. A great percentage of the Filipinos have no decent homes, having to live in make-shift houses. Garments are not that costly if the person is not choosy on the type and brand of the clothes he or she wears. That is why the ukay-ukay existed. which are second-hand clothes. Still, there are establishments which sell new ones at a low price.

Education is very important for every Filipino. Most parents would do everything so that their chidren can get the knowledge they need in order to uplift their situation. In the presence of public schools, this is not totally free since one still has to pay for school supplies, provide the child's allowance and also for school trips/programs and the like.

Other expenses include medicines, living allowance, water, and electricity. In the proliferation of mobile phones, some are even able to own the gadget and maintain it (read: have it loaded).

Even if the basic pay is Php280, what about those who are earning below the minimum wage? Who are being oppressed by slave drivers? Whose rights are being trampered upon.

There has been many incidents of fare hikes (annually), oil-price hikes (weekly), commodity price increase. Yet in my three years in the work force, there has never been a case of salary increase.


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