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A living wage

The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said most Filipinos now need two or three jobs in order to steer clear of poverty.

PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said the incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should consider looking into providing a living wage to curb the rising poverty incidence in the country.

He said the government should already look into providing a living wage instead of minimum wage, which could not catch up with the cost of living.

The Philippine Statistics Authority has set a national average of P12,000 a month as the poverty threshold. The minimum wage in most regions is unable to provide that.

“If you have two kids, the both (parents) should have work. In places like the NCR you have to have two jobs. Outside of NCR, we saw in many regions – especially the southern part of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – that you need around three jobs based on the minimum wage,” Perez said.

Citing data from the PSA, Perez said the number of Filipinos living below the poverty line rose to 26 million in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. The figure jumped notably in areas like NCR, Central Luzon, Central Visayas and other areas where the incidence of COVID was also high.

Perez hoped that the incoming Marcos administration can take advantage of the demographic transition to smaller families in the next 10 to 15 years, and continue implementing population development programs such as maintaining the family planning program, addressing the cost of living, food security and housing.

Improving the standard of living cannot be achieved without first reducing poverty incidence in the country. As this challenge is passed from the current administration to the next, Filipinos can only hope that their government’s priorities remain the same. The incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has no choice but to do a better job at eradicating poverty and improving lives than all its predecessors because that is part and parcel of the job they coveted.*

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November 2022
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