Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume 2, Number 21              June 30 - July 6,  2002              Quezon City, Philippines







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Survival Race in Metro: Wage Earners Need P10,000 More a Month

As of May 2002, Bulatlat.com computations show that a family of six living in Metro Manila needs P532.53 ($10.53) to fulfill food and non-food requirements in one day. For those living outside Metro Manila, they need P396.12 or $7.83 (agricultural areas) and P416.76 or $8.24 (non-agricultural areas).

By DANILO ARAŅA ARAO
Bulatlat.com

Rudy, 35, jokingly describes himself as a "permanent contractual." He says he was lucky to find a job as a messenger in early June, but his contract ends this December. Things are uncertain next year, but he quips that he may get "lucky" again.

At present, he is deeply affected by the controversial purchased power adjustment (PPA) because paying electric bills, according to him, has become a near-impossible task. This is why he took a day off last June 26 to join his fellow residents in Sampaloc, Manila in protesting the rising cost of electricity. (He was busy banging an empty can of cookies during the 6 p.m. noise barrage when Bulatlat.com approached him for an interview.)

He becomes serious when asked about his family. "I honestly don't know how we can make ends meet. As in the past, I am still forced to borrow from friends and relatives. Prices are on the rise, so how can people like me survive?"

Though a contractual employee, Rudy is earning the current daily minimum wage rate in Metro Manila (i.e., P280 or US$5.54 at an exchange rate of P50.57 per U.S. dollar) unlike others who receive lower. But should he be considered "lucky" in this regard?

As of May 2002, Bulatlat.com computations show that a family of six living in Metro Manila needs P532.53 ($10.53) to fulfill food and non-food requirements in one day. For those living outside Metro Manila, they need P396.12 or $7.83 (agricultural areas) and P416.76 or $8.24 (non-agricultural areas).

On a monthly basis, this means that each Metro Manila-based family of six must earn P15,975.78 ($315.91) to survive. A family of six living outside Metro Manila should have a monthly income of at least P11,883.48 or $234.99 (agricultural areas) and P12,502.82 or $247.24 (non-agricultural areas) as of May 2002.

A Metro Manila-based worker like Rudy earning the minimum wage gets only a gross monthly income of P6,160 ($121.81). In the context of current monthly cost of living estimates, minimum wage earners therefore are short of fulfilling the food and nonfood requirements of their families with six members by P9,815.90 ($194.10). (See Table)

When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became President in January 2001, the monthly cost of living was pegged at P15,023.40 ($297.08). This means that the current monthly cost of living estimate represents an increase of P952.50 ($18.83).

Data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shows the daily minimum wage rate in Metro Manila was raised by only P30 ($0.59) since January 2001. Assuming a 22-day work-month, this translates to a minuscule increase of P660 ($13.05).

Given the rising cost of living and the failure of government to look after the interests of the poor, expect Rudy to continue his struggle for a better life even as he tries to provide for his family in these trying times. He confides that he has already told his boss that he will be absent on July 22, the day when President Macapagal-Arroyo delivers her second State of the Nation Address.

On that day, one already knows that Rudy will be in the streets leading to the House of Representatives compound in Batasan Hills, Quezon City. Where will YOU be? Bulatlat.com

Wages and Cost of Living, NCR
2001 to 2002

 

 

On a Daily Basis

On a Monthly Basis a/

Minimum
Wage Rate

Cost
of Living b/

Disparity

Minimum
Wage Rate

Cost
of Living b/

Disparity

Jan 2001

250.00

500.78

(250.78)

5,500.00

15,023.40

(9,523.40)

Feb

250.00

502.35

(252.35)

5,500.00

15,070.50

(9,570.50)

Mar

250.00

502.98

(252.98)

5,500.00

15,089.40

(9,589.40)

Apr

250.00

505.18

(255.18)

5,500.00

15,155.40

(9,655.40)

May

250.00

506.75

(256.75)

5,500.00

15,202.50

(9,702.50)

June

250.00

510.84

(260.84)

5,500.00

15,325.20

(9,825.20)

July

250.00

514.92

(264.92)

5,500.00

15,447.60

(9,947.60)

Aug

250.00

514.61

(264.61)

5,500.00

15,438.30

(9,938.30)

Sept

250.00

515.24

(265.24)

5,500.00

15,457.20

(9,957.20)

Oct

250.00

515.24

(265.24)

5,500.00

15,457.20

(9,957.20)

Nov

265.00

518.07

(253.07)

5,830.00

15,542.10

(9,712.10)

Dec

265.00

520.58

(255.58)

5,830.00

15,617.40

(9,787.40)

Jan 2002

265.00

526.87

(261.87)

5,830.00

15,806.10

(9,976.10)

Feb

280.00

525.61

(245.61)

6,160.00

15,768.30

(9,608.30)

Mar

280.00

528.75

(248.75)

6,160.00

15,862.50

(9,702.50)

Apr

280.00

530.01

(250.01)

6,160.00

15,900.30

(9,740.30)

May

280.00

532.53

(252.53)

6,160.00

15,975.90

(9,815.90)

Bulatlat.com computation based on DOLE and NSO data
a/ Monthly Minimum Wage Rate assumes 22 working days per month
while Cost of Living assumes 30 days per month
b/ cost of living computed on the basis of food and nonfood needs of a family of six


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