• The percentage of charity

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    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    IF the more affluent Filipinos were to give as much as many of the poorest among us are willing to sacrifice to be able to help the victims of calamities, chances are the intended beneficiaries would receive much more than what they have been receiving today.

    Let us go by the numbers. Take a salaried worker like Juan de la Cruz taking home a net pay of P26,000 a month.

    Deducting from it P8,000 at P2,000 a week allowance would leave him P18,000 as his contribution to the family’s monthly budget. If he decides to donate P100 to his office’s fund for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, his act of charity would be equivalent to 0.0463 percent of his annual net income of P216,000.

    What if the same Juan de la Cruz decides to be more generous and volunteers to part with 1 percent of his annual take home pay of P216,000? In this case, he would be giving away P2,160. Then, he and his wife would be thinking for days how to replenish the family budget with a big amount taken off their savings for their two children in college. Go to the loan sharks? Perhaps. If Juan de la Cruz does, he becomes a number in the poverty statistics.

    But then, Juan de la Cruz and his family would justify their act of charity by forcing themselves to believe how lucky they are to be alive while most of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda not only lost their homes but also their loved ones.

    Of course, charity is not and should not be measured in percent. If you and I would adopt this method, then we would end up thinking that we are giving up too much of what we own and, like the family in the theoretical example, thinking of ways to still maintain the family’s monthly or annual budget that we have “short-changed” by our act of generosity that sometimes we do only for public consumption.

    In gift giving, it is more often than not that the salaried workers who feel more the burden than, say the actors and actresses. The former would give up part of his earnings, perhaps a percent of it or even more, to be able to help the needy. The latter, who are dubbed the Philippines’s best artists, would hold shows with as much publicity as possible to announce to those willing to read of listen “for the benefit of” such and such sectors of society.

    After all, they contribute only their talent fees and time, and their generosity did not disturb their bank accounts.

    Then nothing has been heard of the show’s producers and organizers anymore as to the amount that the project has raised, the amount of which, incidentally, came from the public, who are probably the salaried workers. More importantly, who received how much from whom.

    Going back to the percentage of giving, it may be well to provide you with how rich the very rich among us are. Due Diligencer is referring to listed companies that are required under the market’s full transparency rule to disclose market moving developments. Naturally, anything about net income is the most closely watched by the public.

    In a recent posting, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) announced its donation to Tacloban and Cebu population hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda. Due Diligencer, however, failed to do a follow-up reading on PSE’s donation as to the amount it has given and the source or sources of its donation. For sure, the public investors would want to know the details of the exchange’s act of charity.

    Meanwhile, if the public would care to know how much listed companies would be “losing” if they would give 1 percent of their combined net profits and have the amount delivered to Tacloban and Cebu, here is the computation.

    In the first six months of 2013, the combined net profits of listed companies climbed 4.44 percent to P275.5 billion from P263.79 billion in the same period last year.

    If all of these public companies would join hands in being more generous to the less fortunate by giving 1 percent of their combined net profits in the first half of the year, then they would be giving away P2.755 billion.

    And the computation of their generosity is based only on 1 percent! What if the board of directors of the more profitable PSE-listed companies feel uncomfortable about their small donation and instead donate the increase in their net profits! The resulting amount would be staggering a P11.71 billion.

    Please don’t tell the politicians about this. Otherwise, the greedy among them, if there is any, would be asking where they could fall in line ahead of the others to get their share.

    esdperez@gmail.com

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