Sunday, February 12, 2006

Peso surge insignificant if purchasing power, wages are down

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Reference: Rep. Crispin Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006
Tel. # (+632) 931-6615

February 11, 2006

Peso surge insignificant if purchasing power, wages are down

The Palace's jubilation over reports of a surging peso are all hot air if
the purchasing power and wages of the Filipino masses remain at rock-bottom
levels, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran today.

The veteran labor leader said that "all the supposedly good news over the
pesos' status will be nothing more than a press release if these do not
concretely translate to better wages, more housing, schools, jobs and land
to till for the toiling masses".

"The Filipino workers and peasants do not feel the gains of Pres. Arroyo's
supposed economic reforms, and are in fact, more mired in poverty," he said.

Beltran cited estimates by independent development institution IBON
Foundation that 8 out of 10 families or some 83% of the country's families
are poor. If the international poverty measurement counting those living
under $2 a day as poor is used, then over 87% of the country's families are
poor. This figure was based on the January 2006 national average daily cost
of living for a family of six of P538.80 and the 2003 Family Income and
Expenditures Survey (FIES).

Beltran also recalled the recent 2005 survey by the British market research
firm TNS Worldpanel, which revealed that most Class E households (or those
living on an income of P7,500 a month, in slums in temporary one-room
structures with no furnishings) are scrimping on food, soft drinks, cooking
oil and snacks, and are dropping mineral water and deodorants. Class E
families represent one out of every three Filipinos, the survey said.
"The recent studies show that the majority of people in the Philippines have
not benefited in any way from the Arroyo administration's economic policies
implemented last year. IBON's studies show that the real value of the
minimum wage in the NCR has declined to 240.50 from P256.75 in 2005, while
the passage of House Bills 0345 and 1064, which aim for a legislated P125
and P3,000 across the board nationwide wage hike for workers in the private
and public sectors, respectively, continues to be blocked by Arroyo allies
in the Lower House. Without a legislated and significant wage hike, it is no
surprise that many Filipinos will continue to sink deeper in poverty
alongside rising rates, prices and taxes," Beltran said.
"The poor are fed up with peachy promises and forecasts of prosperity.
Expect the tempers of the masses to rise as well if no immediate, concrete
and thorough poverty alleviation measures are resorted to," Beltran ended.


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