I think Minister Broomes is missing the essential point. It is about renting a house fit for kings ($500,000 a month) compared to the average rental which can be afforded by policemen, nurses, teachers, civil servants, taxi-drivers and senior clerks in private businesses ($ 45,000 to $90,000). Many of these categories of workers earn an average monthly salary of $100,000 or less.
The issues are about insensitivity, ie living like a lord on taxpayers’ money. This was not an issue in the Middle Ages; at that time the nobles and royalty lived a privileged life and the people loved it. Today the rulers have to show compassion and sensitivity for the plight of common folks, especially when you are living off their taxpayer dollars.
The issues are no different from ministers raising their salaries 50% and the workers getting 5%. It is at once about fairness and decency: Using the national treasury for the ruling class to self-aggrandize while the working class lives on pittances and crumbs.
Also the government is playing games ‒ no transparency. Who made the decision to raise the limit on out-of-town ministers’ housing allowances to $500,000?
I want to make sure Minister Broomes gets the point. Ted Koppel asked President Marcos on ABC-TV about his wife Imelda having 3,000 pairs of shoes. Marcos reacted with exasperation and said Imelda used her own money to purchase those shoes, whereupon Koppel said: “Dammit, it is not about the money, it is about the insensitivity to the Philippino people who live on $3 a day, and many don’t have a single pair of shoes.”