By Azer Parrocha, PNA
MANILA — Malacañang vowed on Wednesday to “grind daily” to reduce poverty in the country after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that fewer Filipinos consider themselves poor.
Results of the SWS survey conducted from March 28 to 31, 2019, showed a record-low 38 percent (or an estimated 9.5 million) of families who consider themselves poor.
This figure is 12 points below the 50 percent (or an estimated 11.6 million) in December 2018, and 4 points below the previous record-low of 42 percent in September 2016 and March 2018
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo attributed this lower self-rated poverty rating to combined poverty reduction efforts of national and local government officials.
“The Palace welcomes the continuous improving sentiment of Filipino families that no longer consider themselves poor,” Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We thank everyone from the President’s economic managers, as well as the members of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster, to the social welfare officers and barangay health workers for tirelessly making a positive impact on the socioeconomic lives of our countrymen,” he added.
Panelo noted that this lower self-rated poverty rating was achieved despite the “destructive political propaganda war” waged by Duterte’s critics during the campaign period for the May 13 midterm elections when the survey was conducted.
He, meanwhile, assured that the Duterte administration’s poverty reduction efforts remain on track on its target of lifting about 6 million Filipinos out of poverty by 2022.
“Poverty reduction efforts, particularly those designed for the lowest rung of society, remains on track,” Panelo said.
“We aim to reduce poverty from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2022, which is equivalent to lifting about 6 million Filipinos out of poverty by the end of the President’s term. And we will grind daily to reach this goal,” he added.
On April 12, Duterte signed into law the Magna Carta of the Poor (RA 11291) which is meant to uplift the standard of living and quality of life of impoverished Filipinos.
Five days later, Duterte also signed into law an act institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the national poverty reduction strategy and human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition and education aspects of their lives.
On June 3 this year, SWS released a separate survey showing 44 percent of adult Filipinos assess their life in general as ‘very happy.’
The 44 percent very happy is a 5-point increase from the 39 percent in December 2018, according to the SWS. (PNA)