It’s Filipino Fathers’ Day every day in terms of household tasks, survey reveals

Fathers and husbands are celebrated today but Filipino men seem to always have it better, not just on Fathers’ Day but in the rest of the year as well.

Compared to Filipina mothers and wives, at least.

A survey commissioned by Oxfam Philippines revealed that while Filipino men log more care work hours during the coronavirus pandemic, the bulk of household tasks still fall on women.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing families to spend more time at home, Filipinas are still bearing the brunt of unpaid care work, according to the 2021 National Household Care Survey.

The survey reveals than when time spent on supervision of dependents is included, women spent up to 13 hours a day on unpaid care work compared to only eight hours for men. 

Oxfam Philippines graph.

More than half or seven out of the 13 hours spent by women on care work involves multi-taking or juggling at least two activities at the same time, the survey says.

On average, Filipino women spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with care work as their primary activity, it added.

This involves activities such as fetching water, doing laundry or taking care of sick family members.

This is almost three hours more than men who spend an average of less than three hours a day with care work as their primary activity.

It is actually an improvement of the 2017 situation when women spent 12 hours a day on care work while men spent only five hours on such tasks.

Still, Oxfam Philippines said things still need further improvement.

“[I]t is disappointing that there is still inequality at home and that the bulk of unpaid care work still falls on women,” Oxfam Philippines Resilience Portfolia Manager Leah Payud said.

“While the coverage of the two surveys is not exactly the same, it was expected that time spent on care work would increase for men, especially since many were forced to stay and even work at home,” Payud added.

Oxfam Philippines graph.

The survey was conducted from January to March of this year and involved interviews with 1,177 respondents from randomly sampled households in Cagayan, Metro Manila, Masbate, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Oxfam Philippines urged the private sector to contribute to improved workplace policies such as increased parental leaves, flexible work and employer-supporter childcare to encourage menfolk to take on more care work around the house.

“We’re hoping that more men, especially those from the younger generations, would start to take on care work and challenge social norms,” Payud said.

She said there is also a need for institutional changes such as legislation or policies that support the care economy.

“Hopefully, this will improve care-related services such as water systems, health care delivery, and day care services that will result in the redistribution of care tasks and recognition of the importance of care work for both men and women, Payud added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Inflation worsening: Gov’t should act fast as households’ incomes hemorrhage

Research group IBON said that inflation has not tapered off as government projected but has accelerated in September, highlighting government’s continued neglect in addressing rapidly rising prices of goods and services.

The group said that government continues to push failed neoliberal measures, while feigning concern for Filipino families struggling with a quickly falling purchasing power.

Sonny Africa, IBON executive director, said, “The purchasing power of Filipino families continues to fall because the Duterte administration is more concerned about managing the political backlash of rising prices than genuinely addressing the burden on the country’s poorest families.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the headline inflation rate accelerated to 6.7 percent year-on-year in September 2018, higher than the 6.4 percent in August.

Africa said that this is also more than double the 3.0 percent in the same period last year and over five times the 1.3 percent in June 2016 at the start of the Duterte administration.

The inflation rate for the poorest 30 percent of families is however likely even higher and some 8.5 percent or more.

Africa said that inflation has not moderated because the government refuses to suspend implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law or to implement price ceilings on basic necessities and prime commodities.

“Doing these would have sent a strong signal of the administration’s sincerity in addressing rising prices and would bring immediate relief for tens of millions of Filipinos,” stated Africa.

Instead, inflation has already eaten up thousands of pesos in the purchasing power of the incomes of the poorest households who are already under-consuming and have low standards of living as it is.

Africa estimated that each of the country’s poorest 30 percent of households have lost at least Php1,800 to Php2,916 already from the start of the year until September due to inflation.

These are households assumed to be earning some Php12,835 or less monthly.

Less poor and middle income households have also seen their purchasing power eroded.

The next 30 percent of households have lost Php3,418 to Php4,725 since the start of the year.

These are the households earning up to around Php21,119 monthly.

IBON estimates the erosion of purchasing power by deflating household incomes with reported monthly inflation rates.

The impact on the poorest households is also underestimated by the unavailability of inflation rates for low income groups.

The administration has been promoting measures such as importation of agriculture products and the public utility vehicle modernization as ways to mitigate high inflation.

But Africa said that these government measures are tepid because the economic managers only see the numbers as cold statistics and callously insist that the situation is manageable.

“The measures are weak, slow to take effect and oblivious to the worsening conditions of tens of millions of the poorest Filipinos,” said Africa.

Africa also said that lower inflation in the National Capital Region (NCR) may reflect how the government is just managing the political impact of inflation.

“Reported NCR inflation of only 6.3 percent could be because the administration diverted food supplies to NCR to lower food prices here but at the expense of the regions,” said Africa.

Food inflation in non-food producing NCR is conspicuously moderated. There was a just 0.6 percentage point increase in NCR versus 1.5 percentage point increase outside NCR, and 1.2 increase nationwide.

“The government should provide real relief to millions of poor Filipinos and middle class. This includes immediate price controls, stopping TRAIN’s consumption taxes, and a meaningful wage hike. Steps must also be taken to strengthen domestic agriculture and Filipino industry,” he said. #