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PSA exec defends P10,481 estimate: 'Hindi naman puro noodles yan'

A Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) official on Thursday defended the P10,481 estimated minimum budget needed by a family to survive in a month.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, PSA Assistant Secretary Josie Perez said the amount could already make a family with five members afford "nutritious foods."

"Hindi naman puro noodles 'yan, kasi binase rin po namin yung computation ng food threshold doon sa food bundle na nire-recommend ng [Food and Nutrition Research Institute]," she said.

In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo believes the P10,481 minimum budget or P349 a day underwent study.

"I'm sure pinag-aralan nila iyon, 'di ba? I'm sure tinanong nila iyong mga respondents sa survey, tapos nakuha nila iyong average. Iyon siguro iyon," he told reporters.

Panelo sidestepped the question on whether the amount was realistic.

"I will leave it to them kasi sila ang nag-conduct ng survey, sila ang nag-aral. Eh tayo, nandito naman, wala tayong alam doon," he said.

Asked if the family of five can live on the daily budget of P349, Panelo said it would depend on one's lifestyle.

"Depende sa lifestyle nung kumakain. Kasi kapag tanungin mo iyon mahirap, sabihin niya, asin lang. Magdidildil kami ng asin, nakakakain na kami," he said.

At a press briefing on Wednesday reporting the 21-percent decrease in the country's poverty incidence in the first half of 2018, the PSA said no less than P10,481, on average, was needed for a family to meet both basic food and non-food needs for a month.

The P10, 481 estimate is broken down to P7,337 for basic food needs and P3, 144 for basic non-food needs like shelter, clothing, utilities, transportation and communication, Perez said.

Perez explained that the food items considered in the basic food budget were based on the nutritious food bundle recommended by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

The food bundle includes meals with egg, coffee or milk, rice and fruit for breakfast; mung beans (monggo), fish, rice and fruit for lunch; also fish, pork, vegetable, fruit, rice and snack like bread for dinner, she said.

Perez said she is aware that the P10,481 amount could be considered in assessing minimum wages in the country, but she noted that wage boards have their own method of computation.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes criticized the PSA over its estimate, describing it as unrealistic.  —Joviland Rita/Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News