5 out of 10 families consider themselves poor, survey says
FIVE out of 10 Filipino families consider themselves poor, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
The survey, which was conducted on September 15 to 23, found that 52 percent, estimated at 12.2 million families, perceived themselves as poor.
This is four percentage points higher than the 48 percent (estimated 11.1 million) recorded in June and the highest under the Duterte administration.
“This is the second consecutive increase in Self-Rated Poverty in 2018. Since the 42 percent recorded in March 2018, Self-Rated Poverty has increased by 10 [percentage] points in total,” the SWS noted.
Of the 52 percent, 39 percent never experienced being non-poor (always poor), six percent were not poor five or more years ago (usually poor), and eight percent were those who used to be non-poor one to four years ago (newly poor).
The self-rated poverty rate rose by four percentage points nationwide in the third quarter of 2018 because of sharp increases in Balance Luzon (47 percent from 35 percent) and Mindanao (65 percent from 60 percent).
This was offset by a sharp decline in Metro Manila (26 percent from 43 percent), and a flat rate in the Visayas (67 percent).
In order for Filipino families to consider themselves as non-poor, a minimum monthly budget of P15,000 for both Metro Manila and Balance Luzon residents, and P10,000 for people in the Visayas and in Mindanao would suffice.
The same SWS survey showed that 36 percent (estimated 8.5 million) of families rated their food as “poor,” up by two percentage points from the 34 percent (estimated 7.8 million families) posted in June 2018 and the highest since the 37 percent in June 2015.
The two-percentagepoint increase was due
to increases in Balance Luzon (31 percent from 26 percent), Visayas (49 percent from 45 percent), and Mindanao (46 percent from 45 percent), and a decrease in Metro Manila (21 percent from 23 percent).
Residents of Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao need a monthly food budget of P5,000, while those in Balance Luzon should have P6,000, in order for them not to consider their food as poor.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. attributed the increase in the number of Filipinos who consider themselves and their food as poor to the country’s 6.7-percent inflation rate in September, as well as to the damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by Typhoon Ompong.
The Palace official, nevertheless, assured that the government is working double time to tame inflation.
He also cited that President Rodrigo Duterte already gave a directive to ensure “unimpeded” rice importations in the country.
“Nauunawaan namin ang sentimyento ng ating mga kababayan (We understand our countrymen’s sentiments)... Government has thus implemented measures to cushion the impact of inflation and bring food on the table of poor families,” Roque said.
“Walang pamilyang Pilipino ang dapat magutom. Iyan ang atas at hangarin ng Pangulo (No Filipino families should experience hunger. That’s the President’s directive and dream),” he added.
The SWS interviewed 1,500 adult Filipinos by using sampling error margins of ±3 percentage points for national percentages, and ±6 percentage points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. (Ruth Abbey Gita/ SunStar Philippines)