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The quality of life and poverty in the Philippines
Poverty is a daily problem for the majority of the population. Although social spending has increased steadily in recent years, every day remains a struggle for survival for many people. Hardly accessible education, malnutrition, immense population growth, dirty water and a lack of state infrastructure create a difficult livelihood. In addition, a large part of the Philippine population remains untouched by the state’s fight against poverty.
With 103.8 million inhabitants, the Philippines is one of the most densely populated countries in Southeast Asia. It is said that those who do not own land are poor. A small part of the population has the majority of the country. This is accompanied by a high proportion of poverty: according to the World Bank, around a quarter of the population (25.2 percent) will be considered poor in 2018. Around 24 million Filipinos fall below the national poverty line and have to live on less than €1.65 per day. The NCSB notes, however, that around 86 percent of the people do not have sufficient income to “live under reasonable conditions”. 2.3 percent of adults cannot read or write.
Malnutrition Between 15 and 25 percent of all Filipinos suffer from hunger. More than four percent of the population “often” or “always” do not have enough to eat. 26 percent of all children under the age of 10 are considered malnourished. As a rule, it is the mothers who skip a meal so that their children and men get enough to eat, or that the money for fuel, light and water is enough. Many poor families cannot afford a side dish with their food. They eat pure rice without vegetables, fish or meat and use salt, soy sauce, brown sugar or coffee instead. The result of such a menu is permanent malnutrition. The adequate medical care of a person often exceeds the monthly income of a family.
Poverty and poor or no social assistance make the family the most important social unit: work is often found through family contacts. Children are considered life insurance: they often work at a young age and, depending on the region, support the family by selling small items, working in the mining industry or separating and reselling garbage. If possible, the older children go abroad as guest workers to provide their families with a better income. There they often work as nurses or as household helpers and can thus help sick or unemployed family members.
Income of the Filipinos
The average income of a worker is about 5,000 P. and in Manila about 7,000 P. Teachers earn 8,500 to 12,000 P. An employed lawyer earns about 21,000 P. and a bank director about 40,000 P. (about 600€). The bank director usually has his own house, drives a car and the children go to good schools.
Where you live and how you live influences the cost of living. You don’t need a car and it is not worth buying one if you have a supermarket nearby and a bigger city can be reached by bus or taxi in about 30 minutes. Expensive is an apartment in a condominium, also called residential park or “village”. In addition there are running costs for security guards and entertainment etc. These costs can also increase later.
How do Filipinos live?
Let’s take a look at a Filipino family in Compostela, a small town with about 40,000 inhabitants north of Cebu-City, so it’s not a big city but also not a province.
The father works as a driver for a higher employee and only comes home on Sundays. He earns 6,000 pesos a month. The mother has a small food stall near a school and earns about 5,000 pesos a month. They have 2 sons of 18 and 19 years old. One son studies computer science in Cebu. Since they have no money for travel expenses, the son lives with an acquaintance of the family in Cebu and works as a waiter in a hotel in his spare time. The other son goes to a language school and learns German.
Sometimes the father still works as a taxi driver on Sundays. They have a living space of about 20 square meters in a stone house with a sitting area and a small kitchen area. They have a television set, a big fan and a refrigerator. Cooking is done with gas. In the room a small staircase leads up to the sleeping area. The family has 3 mobile phones (cellphone), but phone calls are rare, everything is only by messenges. Once the mother had to go to the hospital and the operation cost 5.000 Peso (approx. 85€). Since they have no financial reserves, all friends and relatives have joined together and the costs could be paid. Everybody gives something, because this is again their own health insurance. He lives in the community and they will help him too if necessary. When money is so scarce, this is the most effective system you can imagine, no wastage in administration, commissions and taxes. With this description I do not want to say that they lead a decent life, but they are cheerful and do not complain.
Cost of living comparison between the Philippines and Australia in €
Monthly average net salary (after tax)
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city centre
Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, waste) for 85m2 apartment
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)
|1 pair of Nike running shoes (middle class)
One-Way-Ticket (local traffic)
|chicken fillets 1kg
|Preschool (or kindergarten), all day, private, monthly for 1 child
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