Let’s account what 2014 has in store for every Filipino. Well, it seems not bright, it’s actually very grim when it comes to prices. Almost every price of commodity is expected to increase. Higher prices means higher expenses. And higher expenses leads to less money and more headaches. From social security to health contributions, fares, oil, electricity and so forth.
Increase in SSS Contributions
Effective January 2014, we will be using a new SSS Contribution Schedule. Under SSS Circular 2013-010, the increase in contribution will be shared by both the employer and the employee. If you compare the old schedule and the new one, you will see that all income brackets are affected. As an example, a contractual daily paid worker who earns 7,500 PHP in a particular month will now have a deduction from his pay slip of 272.50 PHP. Compare that to the old schedule where the deduction is only 250.00 PHP. That’s additional 22.50 PHP that he will be paying. Of course additional contribution would mean additional benefits in the end but for the present moment every peso we spend counts.
Increase in Philhealth Contributions
Philhealth has no intention of joining SSS in the increase. It just so happen that their increase was deferred up to 2013 only and that they will push it through starting 2014. This time not all income brackets are affected. Under Philhealth Circular 27 s2013, the salary bracket floor will now be 8,000 PHP with a minimum contribution of 100 PHP for the employee. Continuing with our example above with the employee who earns 7,500 in a month, he will now have a deduction from his pay of 100 PHP in contrast to only 87.50 PHP if we will use the old schedule. Again that’s additional 12.50 PHP deduction from his take home pay. For the same reason as SSS, increased contribution would amount to increased and better benefits down the road.
Possible increase in PAG-IBIG Contributions
There is currently a pending proposal from PAG-IBIG to increase member’s contribution (joining the party too!). If this happens, the present member contribution will be doubled from 100 PHP to 200 PHP which will also double PAG-IBIG’s annual fund. Additional 100 PHP will be cut from the net pay of our wage earner above.
Increase in Oil Prices
Basing from January to December 2013, there has been more price hikes than rollbacks. What more can we say about 2014. The hands of the Department Of Energy (DOE) are hogtied on this. What’s more negative about this is the eventual increase in fares in public transport. Increased oil prices will put pressure to jeepneys and buses to increase their fare as well which will affect ordinary citizens especially workers who commute everyday on their way to work. The current petition is a fare increase of 2.00 PHP on jeepneys and buses. So if our worker rides a jeep and a bus on his way to work, that’s additional 4.00 PHP one way. For two way that’s 8.00 PHP daily multiplied by 26 working days in a month, it will total 208.00 PHP. Additional 208.00 PHP as monthly expense for our example worker.
Increase in LRT and MRT Fares
Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, fares in trains will also rise. The pending proposal says that a 10.00 PHP price increase will be implemented and divided in two years. When this pushes through, we might experience the first 5.00 PHP increase in 2014. If our worker above also rides MRT (end to end) everyday going to his work, he will shell out additional 10.00 PHP daily (back and forth). In a month, that would total 260.00 PHP. Whew! At this point, our worker above has very little left from his monthly pay. But wait. There’s more!
Increase in Electricity Rates
Although the Supreme Court has halted the increase, we cannot be assured if it will become permanent. Last time I checked, the TRO was just for 60 days. The record rate increase is 4.16 PHP per kilowatt hour (kWh). If our worker above lives in a household that consumes 200 kWh per month from which he pays 25% as his share, he will then spend an additional 208.00 PHP for electricity. Now that really hurts.
That’s just a few of the pains and burdens we have to face this coming year. But let’s not be bitter much about it. After all it’s New Year. This is the time for hope and positive forward-thinking. Let’s give this year a chance. Maybe all these price increases will transcend into better services, products and benefits which will enrich us beyond 2014. I just wish I could also write something about decreases. Decrease in poverty – maybe. Decrease in corruption – long shot. Decrease in political bickering – very long shot.