With P42,000 monthly budget, a family of 5 can live above poverty line: Pernia

Jess Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2018 01:12 PM | Updated as of Jun 08 2018 06:12 PM

MANILA - Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Friday said "it will be good" for an average Filipino family of 5 to have two working members taking home P21,000 a month each or a total of P42,000, to live above the poverty line.

Employees earning roughly P21,000 a month or P250,000 year are exempted from paying income taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, Pernia said.

"Ang monthly kasi ng P250,000 is roughly P21,000. Ginamit kong example iyon kasi I wanted to show na marami nang nag benefit from the TRAIN law. Kung dalawang workers, you double that," Pernia told ABS CBN News.

"The other thing you have to emphasize is the P42,000 budget is another example because it’s based on tax exemption afforded by the TRAIN law. Maybe hindi naman makatrabaho ‘yung wife, kung isang earner lang mag-iiba pa rin yung figure," he added.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) drew flak following Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon's use of a P10,000 benchmark in explaining the impact of inflation, during an economic briefing last June 5.

Pernia said the "illustrative" P10,000 figure was used because it was easy to multiply when computing the actual family budget.

"The average Filipino family size kasi is 5, kaya na-coconnect. Yung P10,000 is illustrative lang iyon eh kasi madali mo increase by 2 times, 3 times, ganon," he said.

Edillon has also clarified that the P10,000 budget was a "hypothetical" figure. 

“Gusto nating malaman ano ba talaga ang nakaapekto or naapektuhan ng malaking inflation, alin ba talaga dito mas kino-consume ng mga tao. Kaya ang ginagawa ko noon, kunwari ang budget is P10,000 a month, papaano ba ito hinahati,” she said.

(We want to know the effect of higher inflation, the most consumed by the people. What I did was make an example, for a P10,000 budget, how is it being divided.)

Inflation stayed at a relatively high level of 4.6 percent in May, its highest in at least 5 years, prompting the country's economic managers to explain its impact on Filipino households. 

Speaking to ANC Friday, Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino admits "communicating technical information is really very difficult."

To avoid confusion, Lambino used a basket of goods as an example. He said what used to cost P100 last year now costs P104.6 factoring in the 4.6 inflation.

In a statement released Friday, Pernia said NEDA’s P10,000 illustration was mistakenly labelled by one news outfit [not ABS CBN News] as a decent budget for a family of 5, out of “misunderstanding, taking things out of context or plain misreporting.”

“We will be working closely with our partners in the media so that, together, we can better explain economic issues affecting people’s lives,” Pernia said.