Rejoice Kabayan!

Got this news from POEA a few months ago. It's good to hear that Manila is still rank as once of the cheapest place to live. But if ask "how is it like to live in Metro Manila nowadays?" you will get a cluster of answers detailing how worse the situation is. Here and there, you will see Filipinos complaining about the low wages and the constant struggle to make ends meet. Unfortunately, for most Filipinos, a decent and quality life is almost unattainable.

However, the result of a recent survey, “Prices and Earnings” published by the Union bank of Switzerland (UBS) revealed that the cost of living in Metro Manila is one of the cheapest in the world. The survey compared the prices of consumer goods and services in 71 cities around the world. Consumer prices in New York were used as the basis of comparison.

The city with the highest cost of living turned out to be Oslo in Norway . On the other hand, the cities with the cheapest cost of living are New Delhi , Buenos Aires , Mumbai, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia which was ranked number 71. Metro Manila is among the lowest at number 67.

If this study is accurate then why is it that so many Filipinos choose to work abroad and settle in a foreign country? The answer was provided by the same survey: apparently, the salary given to the Filipinos is also among the lowest in the world! Aside from the low wages, unemployment rate is also high forcing most Filipinos to look for better opportunities overseas. Basic goods and services like food, clothing, and house rent may be more expensive in New York and Oslo but the residents can still afford to live comfortably because of the higher wages they receive. The low cost of living seems insignificant to a population that has little purchasing power. Manila ranked No. 70 in the purchasing power listing.

The UBS survey revealed that the residents of cities with expensive basic commodities like Zurich , Geneva , Dublin , Los Angeles , and Luxembourg has high purchasing power.

The Philippine government must strive to implement programs and policies to balance the low cost of living with high purchasing power. This is what will truly give Filipinos a decent and comfortable life.

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