Palace con­cedes poverty still high

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - – Edith Regalado, Alexis Romero

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.

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