By Corina Oliquino

MANILA —  Dr. Aileen Espina from the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 said it takes an average six days before some Filipinos with coronavirus symptoms take the test, citing lack of money and fear of job loss at the House Committee on Metro Manila Development’s contact-tracing efforts.

“Iyong iba po, sinasabi nila, may sinat lang, pagod lang, pinagwawalang bahala …natatakot po kasi mawalan ng trabaho kasi no work, no pay sila, walang perang pambayad o baka mahawa,” Espina said, citing DOH records revealing 71.9 percent of the 12,723 COVID cases’ specimen collection was used as proxy due to delayed reporting.

“Kaya napakadali pong makapanghawa. Ang reproduction rate po natin, ang nahahawa ng isa ay dalawang tao. Sa anim na araw (bago siya ma-test), iyong dalawang tao may iba nang mahahawa,” she added.

In a report by GMA News, Espina called for a centralized database for COVID-19 test results accessible to employers and the ramping-up for contact-tracing efforts.

Baguio City Mayor and contact-tracing czar Benjamin Magalong said the national average contact-tracing ratio is just 1:5 and agreed with Espina that COVID-19 patients exposed themselves to at least 37 other individuals before getting tested.

“We need to enhance our contact tracing ratio. The benchmark is one to 37, using four teams per case,” Magalong said, noting the close contacts of COVID-19 patients rose to 413,000 from 216,000 on August 4.

“There is slight improvement but am I satisfied? I am not. Dapat very sharp na ang pag akyat (ng numero ng mga tao na nate-trace) but it is yet to happen,” Magalong added, noting Manila is the best performing when it comes to contact-tracing with a 1:12 ratio while the rest of the NCR is just at 1:2 to 1:5.

PH minimum wage of ₱15,200 among lowest in 110 countries surveyed by Picodi

Think-tank Picodi, on its survey about minimum wages, ranked the Philippines’ average salary of ₱15,200 at 95th among 110 countries in Europe, Asia, North and South Americas, Africa and Australia based on official government websites.

“Although the Philippines is not among the countries that ratified the United Nations Minimum Wage Convention, this concept is well-known and practiced there,” the Report said.

The Report also created an example of a shopping basket filled with items from the universal food groups, including eggs, rice, milk, bread, meat, fruits and vegetables, which meet the nutritional needs of an adult and with prices monitored around the world.

“In the Philippines, for a basket filled with basic items from the list above, you will have to pay around ₱4,370,” the Report noted, providing the following contents of the shopping basket and average prices:

Milk (10l) — ₱774

Bread (10 loaves, 500g each) — ₱516

Rice (2.5kg) — ₱71

Eggs (20) — ₱130

Cheese (1kg) — ₱363

Poultry and beef (6kg) — ₱1,357

Fruits (6kg) — ₱585

Vegetables (8kg) — ₱574

The think tank also pointed out that the minimum wage in the Philippines has been ₱5,376.00, placing the rate at 51st on the list of 52 countries surveyed as it noted that basic food products makes 81.3 percent of the minimum wage.

According to Picodi’s ranking, Australia, the UK and Ireland are “the countries where the minimum wages are the most favorable based on local prices, employees with the lowest possible remuneration will spend seven percent of their salary for the very same basket as people from other parts of the world.”