Workers' groups slam NEDA's cost of living estimate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Workers' groups criticized the estimates given by a National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) official on how a family of five can live with an income of P10,000 a month.

In a media briefing yesterday, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon gave a breakdown on how a family of five can survive with a P10,000 budget a month, factoring in the May inflation rate of 4.6 percent.

 

"Rice will constitute a huge portion of that budget, ₱959 a month out of ₱10,000. Another big contributor is the rentals on housing, that's P1,288," Edillon told reporters during the press conference.

The food budget of a family in NEDA's breakdown is ₱3,834 per month.

Workers' group slammed this estimate on Wednesday, saying the amount is an insult.

"This amount does not reflect the reality of majority of Filipinos who are poor," said Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay in a statement.

According to ALU-TUCP, the living standard for a Filipino family of five is ₱1,200 a day, a third or half of which goes to food expenses alone.

"We demand that the NEDA retract this out-of-touch statement and we are demanding that Undersecretary Edillon to apologize in public for insulting all of us with such a very low government standard of living and for taking the dignity of poor Filipino family to the lowest level," Tanjusay said.

Rene Magtubo, chairperson of the Partido Manggagawa and spokesperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, said the amount would not be enough for a family to live a decent life.

"Given that family budget, we will have a stunted labor force, physically and mentally in the future," Magtubo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is pushing for the #MagkanoBuhayMo online challenge for families to post their monthly budget.

"NEDA must be true to its mandate to develop our national economy and not to be a mouthpiece of lies and mind-conditioning measure of the Duterte government," said KMU Metro Manila chairperson Ed Cubelo in a statement.

Independent netizens are using the hashtag #Neda10kChallenge.

 

In a statement on Wednesday, the NEDA explained the P10,000 budget was a "hypothetical figure" meant to show how a monthly budget of  ₱10,000 would be affected by the 4.6 percent inflation and should not be taken as the standard for a decent living.

"We remain committed to enabling all Filipino families to live a comfortable, secure, and strongly rooted life in line with Ambisyon Natin 2040, the national long term vision," NEDA said.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno also said in an interview with CNN Philippines The Source that a controversial table provided by NEDA was only "for illustration purposes."