Palace concedes poverty still high
DAVAO CITY – Malacañang has admitted that much still needs to be done to address poverty despite the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing a drop in the number of Filipino families that consider themselves poor.
“Even as we acknowledge such positive development, we note that poverty among Filipinos is still high,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement yesterday, adding that the government would address the situation by sustaining high economic growth that creates many jobs and reduce prices and inflation.
The 2018 4th Quarter self-rated poverty survey conducted by SWS from Dec. 16 to 19, 2018 indicated that 50 percent of Filipino families consider themselves as mahirap (poor), which is two points lower than September 2018’s 52 percent.
It also showed a similar drop in the number of Filipino families rating their food as mahirap with 34 percent in December 2018 vis-à-vis September 2018’s 36 percent.
SWS translated the results to an estimated 600,000 families saying that they no longer think of themselves as poor.
Inflation — the rate of increase in the prices of goods and services — eased to 5.1 percent in December from six percent in November. The average inflation for 2018 was at 5.2 percent — the high end of government’s annual inflation forecast of 4.8 to 5.2 percent and the highest since 2009. The easing of inflation last month was caused mainly by the slower rate of increase in prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages and transport, officials said.
“With the President’s tireless efforts in addressing and taming the inflationary effects of the prices of basic goods and commodities, we remain optimistic that many Filipino families would continue to feel more comfort this year,” Panelo said, noting the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas advance forecast that shows inflation decelerating below four percent in 2019.
“Our economic managers are vigorously pursuing policies and programs geared towards reducing the poverty level and propelling the country’s economic development to a degree satisfactory to the administration’s goal of not only giving our countrymen comfortable lives but putting our country at par with our fast developing industrialized Asian neighbors,” he added.
He also noted the statement of Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority who said that, in addressing poverty, the high economic growth that creates jobs and reduces prices and inflation must be sustained.