'Ang hirap lunukin': Recto chides PSA for saying P93-budget is enough to feed family of 5

Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto has chided the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for suggesting that a measly budget of P93 is enough to feed a family of five in the country.

(Metin Ozer/ Unsplash)

"According to the PSA, a family of five would need ₱279 ( in 2021, when the study was made) to meet the minimum basic food needs a day. For three square meals. Or ₱93 per meal for five people," read a statement from Recto Wednesday, Aug. 17.

He said that such detail was "buried in the PSA’s 2021 'National Poverty Statistics' report", which helps the government determine poverty and hunger thresholds.

"I am fan of PSA reports, a devotee of their studies, a champion of their mandate, but this one I find hard to swallow," Recto said.

"Even if it was taken in 2021, a Nobel winner in kitchenomics would find it hard then to whip up a meal for five that would meet nutritional standards on a ₱93 budget," the deputy speaker said.

"I do not know what sample meals were cooked by the PSA people in their test kitchens which prompted them to issue that food threshold cost. Maybe the PSA would like to share their miracle recipe for the enlightenment of families who are having a hard time putting food on the table and making ends meet," Recto added, his sarcasm overflowing.

"Even if that amount would be adjusted for inflation, in this era of ₱400-a-kilo onions, I don’t think that ₱93 would be enough for one family super tipid (cost effective) meal," he noted.

Taking the numbers into account, the former senator wondered if the real hunger and poverty rates "were higher than what were officially captured".

"Hindi kaya mas mataas ang bilang ng GNP - Gutom na Pilipino - kesa doon sa PSA estimate na 6.55 million Filipinos? (Could it be that the actual number of GNP - Gutom na Pilipino is actually higher than the PSA estimate of 6.55 million?)" Recto asked.