By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Five of 10 Filipinos considered themselves poor in the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) released Friday (April 28).
The SWS poll, conducted last March 25 to 28, showed that 50 percent of Filipino adults, representing an estimated 11.5 million families, considered themselves “mahirap” or poor.
The latest figure, SWS said, rose six points from the 44 percent or about 10 million families recorded in December 2016.
SWS said the results self-rated poverty poll had been steady for nine consecutive quarters, from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2016, until it increased to 50 percent this quarter.
The 2017 first quarter survey also found that “food-poor” families grew to 8.1 million, or 35 percent, in March. The December poll recorded 7.7 million families, or 34 percent, rating their food as poor.
“Self-rated food-poverty had been either steady or declining from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016,” the SWS also noted.
SWS attributed the surge of self-rated poverty this quarter to the increase of those who considered themselves poor across all regions of the country.
Self-poverty ratings increased mostly in balance Luzon, with an eight-point increment from December’s 42 percent to 50 percent this quarter.
Mindanao followed with 53 percent (from 47 percent), then Metro Manila with 36 percent (from 31 percent), and Visayas with 57 percent (from 56 percent).
Self-rated food poverty was also highest in balance: Luzon at 41 percent; followed by Mindanao at 35 percent; the Visayas at 33 percent; and Metro Manila at 20 percent.
This quarter’s median poverty threshold — the monthly budget families need in order not to be called “poor” — was placed at P20,000 in Metro Manila and P10,000 each in Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
SWS noted that the latest amounts for Metro Manila and Mindanao “are the highest levels reached in those areas.”
Also, median food poverty threshold was P9,000 in Metro Manila and P5,000 each in Balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. These were also the highest amounts reached in the Visayas and Mindanao, the pollster said.
The survey, first published on Business World, had 1,200 adult respondents with sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.