Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Poverty slightly down in the Philippines

Number of poor Pinoys decrease
Manila Bulletin

Despite the destruction wrought by storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”, the number of poor Filipino families slightly decreased to 9.4 million households in a special survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The nationwide special survey conducted from October 24 to 27 had 1,200 respondents and was used to assess the effects of cyclones Ondoy (international code name Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma) to Filipinos, a month after it hit Metro Manila and wide areas of Luzon.

The respondents were shown three cards with the words “poor”, “on the borderline” and “not poor” to rate their families.

It showed that 51 percent of Filipino households consider themselves as poor or “mahirap”, which translates to 9.4 million families. The figure is slightly lower than the self-rated poverty in September with 53 percent or 9.7 million households.

SWS noted the slight decline in the overall self-rated poverty to a three point decrease in the poverty rate in Mindanao from 57 to 54 percent, a two point drop in Luzon outside of Metro Manila from 51 to 49 percent, and a one point drop in Metro Manila from 41 to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, overall self-rated poverty remained at 60 percent in the Visayas.

Considering poverty in the rural areas, the survey showed that it increased by eight points from 59 percent in September to 67 percent at present.

However, it was offset by a five point decline in urban areas from 46 percent last September to 41 percent in October.

The survey also showed that 7.4 million families (40 percent) consider themselves as food-poor.

SWS said the present self-rated food poverty is slightly lower than the 7.5 million families (41 percent) last September.

With regard to geographic areas, there was a five point increase in the self-rated food poverty in areas of Luzon outside of Metro Manila from 38 percent to 43 percent.

However, the latest figure was also compensated by a seven point decline in Metro Manila from 35 to 28 percent, six point decline in Mindanao from 43 to 37 percent, and two point decline in the Visayas from 48 to 46 percent.

SWS said self-rated poverty threshold, or the monthly budget that poor households need in order not consider themselves poor in general, for the first time increased in Metro Manila.

The poverty threshold increased from P15,000 in September to P19,000 at present in Metro Manila.

The amount is equivalent to P11,957 in base year 2000 purchasing power after deflation by the consumer price index.

SWS said that with the base year threshold at P10,000, this was exceeded only seven times in 36 SWS surveys since 2001.

It further noted that the increase in poverty threshold is considered a positive result on Metro Manila’s effort to improve its living standards.

Likewise, poverty threshold in the Visayas increased to P6,000 from P5,000 in September.

It remained at P5,000 in Mindanao, while it decreased in areas in Luzon outside of Metro Manila with P7,000 from P10,000 in September.

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