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  • Pinoy Family of 5 Will Need 'No Less Than P10,481 on Average' for Monthly Needs, PSA says

    Here we go again, this time data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
    by Rachel Perez .
Pinoy Family of 5 Will Need 'No Less Than P10,481 on Average' for Monthly Needs, PSA says
PHOTO BY iStock
  • In a press release dated today, April 10, 2019, the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) shared some good news —a decline in poverty incidence.

    "Poverty incidence among Filipino families in the first semester of 2018 was estimated at 16.1 percent," the press release read. "This was estimated at 22.2 percent in the same period in 2015. That's about a 6.1 decline in three years."

    Poverty incidence is defined as the number of families whose income is below the poverty line to the total population. The poverty incidence for the first semester of 2018 is equivalent to about 23.1 million Filipino families who fall below the country's poverty threshold.

    Then, PSA's press release also stated that a Filipino family of five "needed no less than Php7,337, on average, to meet the family's basic food needs for a month." To cover both food and non-food needs, a Filipino family of five will need "no less than Php10,481, on average."

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    When GMA News posted a photo of PSA's press release on Facebook, well, you can imagine the comments.

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    "Pahabol lang ata sa April Fools,' (Day)."

    "Php10,481? For 5? Try mo magre-compute! Baka sira battery ng calculator mo."

    "Baka kulang lang ng isang zero like 104,810?"

    "Baka dollar hindi pesos."

    "Tama yang data...10 years ago."

    "Relax, peeps, data as of 1983 yan."

    One netizen divided the amount by 30 days to show that Php349.37 was not enough to feed a family a five daily. The amount was split into five persons and divided yet again into three meals. The per person and per meal amounted to Php23.29. That riled up a few.

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    "Cornetto (ice cream) lang yata ang kakainin natin per meal," the netizen added to which another netizen informed him, "Php25 na po Cornetto."

    Other commenters let their displeasure known by writing lyrics of songs such as "Never Enough" from the movie The Greatest Showman and a parody of the '90s song "How Do I Live" (With 10k a month).

    "Let that be the salary of all government officials," wrote many netizens who dared PSA officials to "walk the talk."

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    Another netizen did try to make sense of it, saying that families don't usually buy food on a per meal and per person basis. Typically, they buy food from the market, cook it at home, and share perhaps just one viand with rice.

    A netizen, who's a working graduate student, emphasized the phrase "on average" as some families of five can live below Php10,000 as the cost of living varies per region.

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    "Normal is subjective given the varying economic conditions...Other people have much simpler lives," his comment read. "Hindi [rin] naman ibig sabihin na yun lang dapat kitain natin para mabuhay. We can always work harder," he said.

    He added, however, that Pho10,000 was not enough to cover his needs. Hmm.

    The PSA's statistics showed the MIMAROPA region had the lowest average poverty threshold of Php9,517 a month for a family of five. The National Capital Region (NCR), on the other hand, had the highest average poverty threshold of Php11,752 a month for a family of five.

    Food threshold, as defined by the PSA, is the "minimum income required to meet the basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements based on the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake (RENI) to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive." Poverty threshold, on the other hand, is the "minimum income required to meet the basic food and non-food needs," including clothing, fuel, communication, health and education expenses, non-durable furnishing, household operations, and personal care effects. 

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    National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro pointed out that poverty threshold is often wrongly perceived and confused by the media to be a measure one's quality of life.

    "Tinitingnan kasi ito na parang basehan ng quality of life na kung nakakagaan na ba sa buhay ang isang tao, which is a subjective perception," Navarro said. "The perception of the quality of life differs from one another," Navarro added.

    "Pag below doon [sa threshold], 'yun 'yung sinasabi namin na nasa poverty," PSA Assistant Secretary Josie Perez explained in the GMA News report.

    A family who is above that threshold, however, doesn't mean the family is not poor. It only means "[na] kaya nilang mabili 'yung kailangan nilang food at kaya din nilang mabili 'yung other non-food necessities," she added. 

    The national average poverty threshold, as Navarro explained, is a measure derived with which all Filipinos are held against one standard to help government agencies like NEDA have a clearer picture if their programs help improve a Filipino's way of life.

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    In 2018, NEDA already received the ire of netizens by declaring that P10,000 a month was enough for a family of five to live a "decent" life. The agency clarified that a family of five needs Php42,000 a month to live above the poverty line.

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