MANILA – The number of Filipinos who believe they are poor has hit a percentage last seen nearly 4 years ago, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) released Wednesday.
Fifty-two percent of 1,500 respondents in the September poll considered themselves as poor. This translates to around 12.2 million families, the SWS said in a statement.
The figure is the highest since the similar 52 percent in December 2014, the pollster said.
The September survey also found that of the 52 percent self-rated poor families, 8 percent are “newly-poor” and used to be non-poor 1 to 4 years ago, and 6 percent used to be non-poor 5 or more years ago.
The remaining 39 percent said they have always been poor, the SWS said.
The 52 percent figure is this year’s second consecutive increase in self-rated poverty, which was at 42 percent in March and 48 percent in June.
Self-rated poverty has increased 10 points in total between March and September 2018, the SWS noted.
MONTHLY BUDGET OF THE POOR
Meanwhile, of the 48 percent self-rated non-poor families, 10 percent used to be poor 1 to 4 years ago or are “newly non-poor”, and 13 percent used to be poor 5 or more years ago.
The remaining 25 percent have never experienced poverty.
The third quarter reading also showed that 36 percent or about 8.5 million families considered the type of food they eat as “mahirap” or “food-poor.”
This is 2 points above the 34 percent or 7.8 million in June 2018, and is the highest since the 37 percent in June 2015.
Respondents said they needed a monthly budget of P10,000 for them not to be considered poor. However, they lack P5,000 to meet that monthly threshold.
For self-rated food poverty, the threshold was P5,000 a month but respondents said they were short of that by P3,500.
When President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in June 2016, self-rated poverty was at 45 percent.
Duterte has promised to uplift the poor by spreading development to the countryside, increasing spending on agriculture and lowering income tax rates.
The September 15 to 23 survey has sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages.