Kadiwa pop-up markets will continue beyond Christmas until the country gets to a point when it’s no longer necessary and prices in public markets are the same as in the government-run stores, hopefully by March next year, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Thursday.
“As it stands right now, in terms of (food) supply, we’re okay until at the very least, February, March of next year,” the President said as he graced the Kadiwa sa Pasko stores at the Quezon City Hall.
“Hopefully by then, the prices of commodities in the market will have ‘normalized,’ (which) is what I call it, that won’t change so much.
So, I think we’re okay until then. That’s our best projection,” Mr. Marcos added.
The President was asked about the Kadiwa program living on beyond the holidays and what his plans were to make the government stores sustainable for both producers and consumers, with prices in public markets still spiraling out of control.
“For us what we are looking at— once we get to a point where it’s no longer necessary, where the prices in the markets are the same as what we can give in the Kadiwa, then we don’t need the Kadiwa anymore,” he said.
The President said Kadiwa stores could exist as food distribution venues for far-flung areas in the country, following its original mode as a mobile or rolling store.
“So maybe we’ll get—but we’re not yet there at that point, we are still spreading it around the country right now,” Mr. Marcos said.
The Kadiwa program was relaunched in November to allow the public to buy agricultural products at lower prices amid higher inflation.
An initiative of the President, who also heads the Department of Agriculture, the program allows farmers, fishers, and microentrepreneurs to sell their products directly to consumers and give Filipinos an alternative amid the rising cost of goods.
The Kadiwa system was created during the time of the President’s late father, Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., in the 1970s.
Meanwhile, well-designed policy measures are needed urgently to prevent the deepening of existing levels of poverty, inequality and social unrest, according to the latest International Labour Organization (ILO) report on global wages.
The severe inflationary crisis combined with a global slowdown in economic growth – driven in part by the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis – are causing a striking fall in real monthly wages in many countries, according to the new ILO report.
The crisis is reducing the purchasing power of the middle classes and hitting low-income households particularly hard, the agency said in a statement.
“The Global Wage Report 2022-2023: The Impact of inflation and COVID-19 on wages and purchasing power” estimates that global monthly wages fell in real terms to minus 0.9 per cent in the first half of 2022 – the first time this century that real global wage growth has been negative.
Among advanced G20 countries, real wages in the first half of 2022 are estimated to have declined to minus 2.2 per cent, whereas real wages in emerging G20 countries grew by 0.8 per cent, 2.6 per cent less than in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The multiple global crises we are facing have led to a decline in real wages. It has placed tens of millions of workers in a dire situation as they face increasing uncertainties,” said ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo.
“Income inequality and poverty will rise if the purchasing power of the lowest paid is not maintained. In addition, a much-needed post pandemic recovery could be put at risk. This could fuel further social unrest across the world and undermine the goal of achieving prosperity and peace for all.”
The cost-of-living crisis comes on top of significant wage losses for workers and their families during the COVID-19 crisis, which in many countries had the greatest impact on low-income groups.
The report shows that rising inflation has a greater cost-of-living impact on lower-income earners. This is because they spend most of their disposable income on essential goods and services, which generally experience greater price increases than non-essential items.
Inflation is also biting into the purchasing power of minimum wages, the report says. Estimates show that despite nominal adjustments taking place, accelerating price inflation is quickly eroding the real value of minimum wages in many countries for which data is available.
The analysis shows there is an urgent need to apply well-designed policy measures to help maintain the purchasing power and living standards of wage workers and their families.
Adequate adjustment of minimum wage rates could be an effective tool, given that 90 per cent of ILO Member States have minimum wage systems in place. Strong tripartite social dialogue and collective bargaining can also help to achieve adequate wage adjustments during a crisis.
Other policies that can ease the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on households include measures targeting specific groups, such as giving vouchers to low-income households to help them buy essential goods, or cutting Value Added Tax on these goods to reduce the burden inflation places on households while also helping to bring down inflation.
“We must place particular attention to workers at the middle and lower end of the pay scale. Fighting against the deterioration of real wages can help maintain economic growth, which in turn can help to recover the employment levels observed before the pandemic. This can be an effective way to lessen the probability or depth of recessions in all countries and regions,” said Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez, one of the report’s authors.