FOR the first time in nearly three quarters, the percentage of Filipinos who believed they were poor dropped by six points, according to the latest survey by Social Weather Stations.
The poll also revealed that poverty eased in Balance Luzon and Metro Manila sharply increased in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Second Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey, conducted among 1,200 respondents, showed that self-rated poverty was at 44 percent or an estimated 10.1 million families. This was six points lower than the 50 percent or 11.5 million families that rated themselves poor in March 2017.
The decline in self-rated poverty in the three months ending June broke two successive quarters of increases.
The June 2017 survey also reported that some 32 percent or 7.3 million families rated themselves “food-poor,” which was three points below the 35 percent or 8.1 million families in the previous quarter.
SWS noted that when President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power in June 2017, the self-rated poverty was 45 percent and then fell to 42 percent by the end-September quarter and had since risen for two consecutive quarters: 44 percent by the end-December quarter and 50 percent in the first quarter of this year.
SWS attributed the six-point decrease in self-rated poverty nationwide to the easing poverty, which declined by 16 points in Balance Luzon at 34 percent and slipped eight points in Metro Manila at 28 percent.
Self-rated poverty, however, rose by seven points in the Visayas at 64 percent and climbed four points in Mindanao at 57 percent.
The respondents said that, for them not to be considered poor, they needed at least P10,000 in monthly budget and that families still lacked P5,000 to meet that monthly threshold.
The median threshold, which refers to what the poorer half of the poor need for home expenses, differed across the regions: P20,000 in Metro Manila, P15,000 in Balance Luzon, P10,000 in the Visayas and P10,000 in Mindanao.
“These values are higher in the June 2017 survey compared to their March 2017 counterparts, meaning families are in need of more money and lack more money to escape food poverty,” SWS said in its report.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Malacañang was “pleased” with the survey results.
“The Duterte administration’s overarching goal is to bring comfortable life for all,” Abella said.
“Much has been accomplished in one year as people have started to feel some improvement. However, we have to do more, and with the support of business, civil society and other vital stakeholders, we can achieve our target to bring down poverty to 14 percent at the end of the President’s term.”