MANILA – According to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, 51 percent or about 11.4 million Filipinos rated themselves as poor in the first quarter of the year, and 36 percent or 7.9 million rated themselves as food-poor.
The SWS poll, which was conducted from March 20 to 23, first published its results in BusinessWorld. Heads of households were asked to rate their family as not poor, on the line or poor. They were also asked with what food they usually ate.
Based from the results, the number of those who rated themselves poor was unchanged from last year, and was on similar levels with five other series of the survey conducted throughout the Aquino administration.
In March 2012, December 2013, and June and September 2013, the self-rated poverty reached as high as 55 percent. In December 2011, on the other hand, the self-rated poverty registered its lowest 45 percent.
In Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, self-rated poverty went down with 31 percent from 43 percent and 44 percent from 45 percent respectively. In Visayas and Mindanao, on the other hand, the self-rated poverty went up with 70 percent from 65 percent and 62 percent from 60 percent respectively.
The number of those who considered themselves food-poor, on the other hand, showed improvement as this year’s result has been five points lower than last year’s.
In Luzon and Visayas, self-rated food poverty declined with 28 percent from 37 percent and 45 percent from 51 percent respectively. In Mindanao, however, the self-rated food poverty yielded no change with 52 percent.
According to the University of the Philippines economics professor Benjamin Diokno, the Philippine government had nothing to do with the lower food-poor rate. It was the significant drop in world oil prices that improved the rate.
The SWS survey also showed the monthly budget families needed not to consider themselves as poor and the monthly food budget families needed to not consider themselves as food-poor.
In Metro Manila, families required a monthly budget of 15,000 pesos from last year’s 20,000 pesos and a food budget of 9,000 in both years. In the rest of Luzon, the monthly budget was 8,000 pesos from last year’s 15,000 pesos and the food budget was 6,000 pesos from last year’s 4,000.
In Visayas, the monthly budget was 12,000 pesos from last year’s 10,000 pesos and the food budget was 4,750 pesos from last year’s 5,000 pesos.
In Mindanao, the required monthly budget remained unchanged with 10,000 pesos and the food budget went up to 5,000 pesos from last year’s 4,000 pesos.