Inquirer.net

THE latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that the number of Filipino families who consider themselves poor significantly dropped from the previous quarter’s 52 percent to the latest 50 percent.

“The proportion of self-rated poor families was at 42 percent in March 2018. It rose by six points to 48 percent in June, and by four points to 52 percent in September. It subsided by two points to 50 percent in December,” the polling firm said as reported by The Manila Times.

It added, “Nevertheless, the resulting average self-rated poverty rate of 48 percent for 2018 is two points above the average 46 percent in 2017 and four points above record-low average of 44 percent in 2016. This is the second consecutive increase in the annual self-rated poverty rate since 2016.”

Following the survey results, the Palace welcomed the rating drop.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo attributed the progress to President Rodrigo Duterte’s programs and policies to curb the negative effects of inflation among the Filipino people. 

“The Palace welcomes the December 2018 survey on self-rated poverty conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) indicating that 50 (percent) of Filipino families consider themselves as “mahirap”, a drop from September 2018’s 52 (percent),” Panelo said in a press briefing.

He noted the president’s “tireless efforts” to address the inflation issues surrounding basic goods and commodities.

However, in a report from The Philippine Star, the chief executive’s legal counsel also pointed out that even with such “positive development,” the 50 percent self-rated “poverty among Filipinos is still high.”

“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,” the Palace spokesman added.

The survey was conducted among 1,440 adults respondents or estimated 11.6 million families, from December 16 to 19.  Self-rated food poverty measures the proportion of respondents rating the food their family eats as poor or mahirap.

Out of the 50 percent, or the 720 respondents who considered themselves poor, 37 percent claimed that they were “always poor,” while the remaining 13 percent said that they only slipped into poverty.

From the other half of the respondents who do not consider themselves poor, 27 percent said they have never experienced poverty, while the remaining 15 percent said that they pulled themselves out of poverty.

SWS said the median self-rated poverty threshold – the monthly budget that a poor household needs for home expenses in order not to consider itself poor in general – is P10,000. 

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