Poverty threshold a statistical magic trick — KMU

By ALDWIN QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) criticized the use of poverty threshold as a standard for measuring wages saying that it can be manipulated at the expense of lowly workers.

In a statement, KMU said that the poverty threshold being used to determine the development of the lives of Filipinos does not mean that the workers and their families can get some immediate relief from the continuous increase in the price of basic goods and payments for basic services. The labor organization also stated that the poverty threshold is a result of President Benigno Aquino III government’s objective of reducing the number of poor Filipinos in paper.

“The so-called “poverty threshold” is one of the Aquino government’s statistical magic tricks to make it appear that it has lifted workers out of poverty and has reduced the number of Filipinos living in poverty. It does not mean an improvement in the lives of workers and their families,” KMU stated. The organization added that the Aquino government instead of giving a significant wage increase invented a very low standard for measuring wages so that it could make the false claim that the condition of workers has improved.

On December 22, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that there will be a wage increase of P15-P20 per day in Central Luzon starting January. The labor agency stated that this will bring the highest minimum wage in the region to P364 which is higher than the P248 poverty threshol in the region for a family of five.

Because of this, DOLE claimed that in 2015 for the first time in history, Filipino workers are enjoying wages above the poverty threshold. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz also said that such is a victory not only for the Filipino workers but for all Filipinos.

KMU cited the computation of the independent think-tank Ibon Foundation of the Family Living Wage (FLW) which was carried out before by the National Wages and Productivity Commission. Ibon estimated that the FLW was already at P1,086 per day. The labor group stated that using Ibon’s FLW, the conditions of the Filipino workers today are worse off than they were years ago.

KMU added that because of the soaring prices and pegged wage hikes, the gap between the minimum wage and the FLW in the country has widened.

“We continue to demand a P125 across-the-board wage hike for Filipino workers. What we want is a significant wage hike that will bring the minimum wage closer to the living wage, and will correct the meager wage hikes that were approved for decades.

This is the kind of wage increase that will give workers immediate relief,” KMU stated. The group stressed that what the workers want is a return to the living wage as a standard, which is part of workers’ and Filipinos’ struggle to actually reduce the number of poor Filipinos. # nordis.net

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