How much money does a person from the Philippines earn or make a day?
From the least paid all the way to the president, I took to the streets to try to find out. The results, while holding no scientific nor Wall Street Journal like quality, are interesting nonetheless.
I say per day, as when I ask people on a lower-income, this is what they quote me, exactly:
“I make ___ , sir.”
A middle-income person is more reluctant, but will quote by the month using the term “around“.
Upper income people usually just smile. But will happily tell you what everyone else makes.
(Updated for 2012)
Cost of living in The Philippines (average, local)
Here’s a rough idea of what local things cost so you can see what a wage quote lower down must be spent on:
- Jeepney ride – 10 pesos (medium distance transport)
- Cost of fuel per liter – p58 +
- Tricycad – city transport - p6 +
- Small bottle of water – p15-20
- Average local meal with meat – p69
60 pesos (p60) = USD$1.38 approx
The reality of wealth distribution in the Philippines:
A village girl or boy brought to a town to work as a house keeper can be paid as little as 0 to 50 pesos per day. They are given accommodation and meals (basic, as in rice and the floor).
Official minimum wage in The Philippines is based on regions, and noted later on.
Low income earnings:
The average security person man or woman earns p200+ per day
The average guest house / hotel cleaner earns 200+ pesos per day
The Jollibee starting salary is 200+ pesos per day
A receptionist (starter) earns: p200 – 300 per day
(it should be noted that government regulation states benefits should be given to every permanent employee. So most employers only hire people for 5 months then release them. Supermarket chains and fast food restaurants in particular)
Middle income earnings
A call center employees earns p10,000 – 18,000 per month
An office administrator earns p10,000 – 20,000 per month
A basic teacher earns p15,000 – 18,000 per month
Note: there are hidden extras in many middle-income salaries. Many will also be given a free sack of rice every month, a health care plan and transport. Depending on the job and circumstances.
A doctor earns between p18,000 – 35,000 pesos per month
An airline pilot earns 80- 100,000 pesos per month
How much does a Government official in The Philippines make?
Now this was hard to find answers on, I wonder why?
The president earns 40,000 -60,000 pesos per month (everyone laughs when this is mentioned)
A governor earns … ???
The president’s “official” salary was easy to find out. As for a Governor, Mayor or other government officials no one seems to know.
If you happen to know, then please leave a comment (references would be great).
One of the great things about having a such a good community of readers here has just revealed itself thanks to the comments of Marnie.
We now know the official salary of a Governor in the Philippines is 28,875 – 34,323 pesos a month. Here are some other scales.
Salaries of Government officials in the Philippines:
President of the Philippines salary is: 57,750
Vice President’s salary is: 46,200 – 54,917
Senator’s salary is: 40,425 -48,052
Congressman’s salary is: 40,425 -48,052
Governor’s salary is: 28,875 – 34,323
Mayor’s salary is: 23,422 – 27,842
Again many thanks to Marnie for finding this list.
Note: I can’t help but add in here about the massive fringe benefits politicians get in The Philippines. Not forgetting the wealth of political dynasties, shady business partnerships and corruption the countries politicians have been known for. They are amongst the richest here, one way or another. See further below for an example of a $20,000 steakhouse dinner
Official Minimum Wage in The Philippines 2012
The official minimum wage in the Philippines set by the government is broken into regions (based on non-agriculture salaries, upper limits).
- NCR - P426
- CAR – P272
- Region I Ilocos – P248
- Region II, Cagayan Valley – P245
- Region III Central Luzon – P330
- Region IV A Calabarzon – P337
- Region IV B Mimaropa – P264
- Region V Bicol - P247
- Region VI Eastern Visayas – P277
- Region VII Central Visayas – P305
- Region VIII Western Visayas - P253
- Region IX, Zamboanga Peninsula – P267
- Region X, Northern Mindanao – P286
- Region XI, Davao Region – P291
- Region XII Central Mindanao – P260
- Region XIII Caraga – P258
- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao - P232
For further information and breakdowns on the official minimum wage in The Philippines please see The Philippines National Wages & Productivity Commission page
Expats & overseas workers:
Diplomats earn the same as their civil service salaries back home, plus hardship bonuses (differs depending on origin country). Least to say, they are far from suffering judging by the luxury apartments/ buildings, most live in.
Non owning manager of a corporate overseas business: $USD 80,000 + per year depending on business. (plus other benefits)
Unqualified expat looking for a job – same as a local, unless you get lucky.
A note on small expat businesses in the Philippines: in order to run a registered business in the Philippines you need to be a national. Foreigners generally (that I am aware of) have two options.
- Marry a local: in which case the local will own the majority share of the company
- Form a company whereby the BOD has at least 5 Pinoy members
I’ve seen and heard of many a bad story due to the above.
Equality & fairness in the Philippine salary:
The above is not an official list of salaries by some government body. These are quotes from people either in that job, related to it, from the street or from a news agency and treated as a given average.
What struck me was the salary scale of a call center employee vs a teacher or even a doctor. Call centers are booming in The Philippines, and many graduates would rather work in a call center, rather than in their chosen profession.
Apart that is from those looking to leave the country, via their profession.
Filipinos working overseas:
In my time here I’ve met a staggering amount of Filipinos looking to work overseas. This is actually an industry itself. And no, I am not talking about the return of wealth from overseas workers.
I am talking about the amount of businesses within the Philippines dedicated to getting people jobs overseas. And, to a lesser scale, simply taking the money with idle promises.
Unemployment vs overseas working
Today’s figures state there about 12 million overseas Filipino workers. The population is around 95 million. That’s roughly about 10% of the population that work overseas.
The unemployment rate is around 8% give or take. How this is actually calculated is beyond me as there’s very to back this up. Living off the land out of necessity and eating nothing but plain rice is considered employed.
Fringe benefits & justice
Rather than the usual developing country heartache of focusing on people eating nothing but plain rice, children falling asleep due to hunger, or no medical care. I’d like this to highlight the flip side of things.
Whereby some people live very well
Last year as the Philippines was struggling to cope with the world food crises former President Arroyo spent $15,000 and then another $20,000 on two meals for 60 colleagues whilst visiting the U.S.A. One of which was at a steakhouse where the bill was allegedly footed by a nephew of former president Marcos. The story was reported in many places. Here’s a brief ABS-CBN report.
The follow ups to this were met with non-statements, allegations, rebuttals and the usual “the head of state desires good treatment because …”
Conclusion on earning and salaries in The Philippines:
From hand to mouth non earners, to teachers earning less than call center staff to Presidents and their entourages eating $20,000 dinners.
It’s a bizarre scale, and I somehow I don’t think The Philippines is alone in the world in this regard.
And, it would be interesting to see if anyone else can add to this, or disagree with my findings, either in the Philippines, or globally.
I am sure wealth distribution anomalies happen elsewhere too.
Documenting my life 101
Plus, a special on bribery within the travel photography community … aka travel photography ethics
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