12.5 Percent – August inflation rate, the highest in 17 years.

1.415 Trillion Pesos – proposed budget for next year, described by the government as a “crisis budget.” I say its an “election budget.”

3 Billion Pesos – estimated budget for a presidential candidate in 2010. This would make the winner and loser/s law violators. Election laws allow candidates and their political parties to spend only P3 per voter or a total of P6. If there are 45 million voters, that would amount only to less than 10 percent of this war chest.

25 – number of sub-standard nursing schools still operating in the country.

36.7 Billion Dollars – gross international reserves of the Philippines at end of August, down by $200 million from the previous month.

8 – votes needed in the Senate to reject the JPEPA. Very likely the following – Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Greg Honasan, Jamby Madrigal, Kiko Pangilinan, Nene Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes, and hopefully, Noynoy Aquino.

16,000 – number of seedlings planted in Santiago City, Isabela in its bid to become the “malunggay capital” of the country.


Jollibee, the Filipino fastfood chain led by Davao-bred Tony Tan Caktiong, is gaining new customers due to the economic slump. They are high income customers – in barong – who are now crowding out the masses at its stores.

I wonder if the same trend is true at McDo …

6:09 a.m.

My pay slip

Ever wonder how much elected city councilors make?

These are the entries in my pay slip for this month:

Earnings – Monthly Salary P25,764.00; Personal Emergency Relief Allowance (PERA) P0.00; Additional Compensation P1,500 – Total P27,264

Deductions – GSIS Life & Retirement Insurance P2,318.76; Home Development Mutual Fund Premium P100.00; Medicare P312.50; Withholding Tax P3,836.60; PAG-IBIG Loan P617.46 – Total P7,185.32

Net Pay – 1st Week P5,019.00; 2nd Week P5,019.00; 3rd Week P5,019; 4th Week P5,021.68 – Total P20,078.68

Not much huh? This should belie popular perception that politicians make a killing such that many poor people line up at our offices and homes for financial aid.

Ha, ha, ha. At P20,000 a month, councilors are in fact receiving lower than the ideal living wage of at least P1,000 per day for a family of six.

This pay slip was released last July 1 or prior to the effectivity of the new law exempting minimum wage earners from income taxes and increasing the personal exemptions and additional deductions on those earning higher income.

So, employers need to adjust their computations on all their employees to comply with this new law on withheld taxes. Mine is P3,836.60 a month. I am a public servant and yet the government takes away from me this much per month.

It is estimated that this non-wage benefit would add at least P34 per day to the take home pay of minimum wage earners. Unfortunately, the galloping inflation rate has eroded the same before workers could enjoy this benefit. Inflation in June was recorded at 11.4 percent, the highest since 1994.

6:15 a.m.