The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) thinks a minimum-wage earner who takes home P10,000 each month still has a decent income to sufficiently cover all the needs of a small family with five members.
In a report aired over GMA Network’s primetime newscast 24 Oras on June 5, the agency shared a sample monthly budget, which allocates P3,834 for food expenses and P6,008 for non-food costs (including utility, clothing and footwear, and house rental).
The big question is: Can P127 be enough to cover total food expenses in each of the 30 days in a month? P63 can buy 1.5 kilos of the cheapest rice available in the market and the remaining P64 can be allocated to buy canned meat/fish or vegetables.
Tech and Lifestyle Journal looked at the other components of the budget like allocation for transportation, communication, and education but could not figure out how NEDA’s prescribed amount could be enough to cover such expenses of a five-member family. For instance, a monthly transport budget of P806 if distributed equally among four people (assuming the mother is a housewife who does not need to take a ride each day) will give each P201.5, which on the other hand translates to a daily transport budget of just P9 per individual (for 22 days). Minimum jeepney fare (one-way) is P8 (P6.50 for students), so how can it cover a two-way ride going to and from the office or school?
We also could not figure out how and where a family in the metro can find a house to rent for at least P3,000 (assuming budget for non-food is P6,008). Electric and water bills, as well as liquefied petroleum gas, could not possibly be covered by a P1,000 budget.
For NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, a family living in a P10,000 budget monthly may still not be categorized as poor, especially because they may not yet be classified as living below the poverty line. “Siguro nasa fifth decile ka nun, hindi ka poor. Ang poor natin mababa ang poverty line,” she said.