By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang is optimistic that more families will live more comfortable lives this year after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed a drop in the number of Filipinos who considered themselves poor last month.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after it was revealed that the number of Filipino families who considered themselves “poor” went down from 52 percent to 50 percent based on the December 2018 SWS survey.
In his statement, Panelo said Malacañang welcomes the result of the self-rated poverty survey, saying this translates to an estimated 600,000 families saying that they no longer think of themselves as poor.
He also noted a similar drop of Filipino families rating their food as “mahirap” (poor), which stood at 34 percent in December 2018 vis-à-vis September 2018’s 36 percent.
According to Panelo, such improvements may be perceived to be in consonance with the December 2018 drop of inflation which registered at 5.1 percent or the lowest since June 2018. He said the Palace is now optimistic that the situation for Filipinos will get better.
“With the President’s tireless efforts in addressing and taming the inflationary effects of the prices of basic goods and commodities, we remain optimistic that many Filipino families would continue to feel more comfort this year,” he said.
Panelo also cited Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s forecast that inflation for 2019 is expected to slowdown to below four percent. However, he said the government will continue to pursue improving the lives of every Filipino.
“Even as we acknowledge such positive development, we note however that the poverty among Filipinos is still high,” he said.
In addressing it, Panelo said that it is important for the country to sustain high economic growth that creates many jobs and reduce prices and inflation.
“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,” he said.