The Palace on Thursday blamed COVID-19 for a recent Social Weather Stations survey finding that 43 percent of Filipinos —or about 10.9 million people— feel poor.
The same survey showed that 34 percent rated themselves “borderline poor” while 23 percent said they felt they were “not poor.”
“The Duterte administration has vowed a comfortable life for every Filipino family and attained a significant milestone when poverty incidence declined from 23.3 percent in 2015 to 16.7 percent in 2018,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on income and job opportunities as reflected in the latest SWS survey, the same rating reflected in their December 2021 survey,” he said.
He said this was the reason the administration is speeding up social and economic recovery efforts while managing the risk posed by COVID-19.
Andanar said shifting the country to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 further improved the performance of key sectors such as tourism and would allow the return to face-to-face classes.
The SWS survey found that the number of Filipino families who felt poor increased in Mindanao from 43 percent to 60 percent and in Metro Manila from 25 percent to 32 percent. But it fell in the Visayas from 59 percent to 48 percent, and in Balance Luzon from 41 percent to 35 percent.
According to the SWS, the national median self-rated poverty threshold (SRP Threshold)—or the average monthly budget a family needs to not see itself as poor—went up from P12,000 to P15,000.
On self-rated food poverty, based on the type of food eaten by their families, the April 2022 survey found 31 percent of families rating themselves as food-poor, 45 percent rating themselves as borderline food-poor, and 24 percent rating themselves not food-poor.
The estimated number of self-rated food poor families stayed at 7.9 million from December 2021 to April 2022.