National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) issued a clarification on a news report that a family of five could could live "decently" with a Php10,000 monthly income. The agency said it was taken out of context.
A news report aired on GMA's 24 Oras on June 5, reporter Maki Pulido presented NEDA's monthly budget breakdown where food and beverage took the lion's share of Php3,834. This translated to Php127 budget every day to feed a family of five, multiplied by 30 days.
NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon was quoted in the news clip as saying that a minimum wage earner is not considered poor. "Siguro fifth level ka na nun. Hindi ka poor," she told GMA News.
Pulido put the amount to the test and found that she was able to buy food for a family of five. The quality of meals, however, were far from "decent."
In an interview, the wife of a minimum wage earner who spends for a family of four admitted that a P10,000-monthly budget is tight.
This morning, June 6, NEDA clarified that the said Php10,000 budget for a family of five was only a hypothetical figure. Edillon stressed that she never said that a family of five can have a "decent" life with a Php10,000-income a month, GMA Newsreported.
"Mali po 'yung konteksto, hindi po namin sinabi na 'yun ang kailangan for a decent living," she said. "Yung sa Php10,000 ang tiningnan namin paano bina-budget ng somebody with Php10,000 a month ang kanyang kita tapos ano 'yung epekto ng inflation," Edillon stressed. "Paano kaya ito ina-apportion to certain commodity items...Iba-iba naman po 'yung paggalaw ng mga items so tinignan namin alin dito 'yung pinaka-gumalaw," she added.
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Edillon added they have yet to finish the study on how much money a Filipino family needs monthly.
Raising the minimum wage is but one of the possible solutions some government officials are suggesting to help Filipinos cope with the highest inflation rate the country has had in five years.
The government, however, is not convinced that the rising commodity prices is the result of the newly-enacted Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or TRAIN law. It traced the inflation rate to higher oil prices and remained firm not to suspend the law that was supposed to give Filipinos higher take-home pay.
A 2016 survey, also conducted by NEDA, claimed that a Filipino family of four will need to have a gross monthly income of P120,000 to live a "simple, comfortable life." The said amount will allow the family to live in a medium-sized house, own a car, travel occasionally and send two children to college.
To be able to earn that amount, a two-parent family will need to earn Php60,000 each per month. NEDA also clarified that the 2016 study was meant to be more of a "vision" for the country by 2040.