Editorial: Least poor doesn’t mean not poor-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
IT’S with relief that we welcomed the statement of Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio when asked her reaction to the report by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) that Davao City is the least poor in Mindanao.
“(That’s) good news,” she said, “but it doesn’t mean that there are no more poor people in Davao. Many are still in need of work and (decent) income, especially that the city’s rate of in-migration has increased.”
Some other politicians would rejoice over the report and attribute this to this and that poverty alleviation program.
By saying so, Dabawenyos are assured that the chief executive still has her eyes trained on the problem and is in full recognition that all these developments that are changing the city’s skyline almost every day is bringing in more poor people seeking a better future in what is becoming the beacon for opportunity-seekers in Mindanao.
Even the basis for being the least poor that the NSCB used is a reflection of real poverty. Why is that? It’s because the computation is based on the 2011 readjusted poverty threshold of P46 a day for a family to be considered above the poverty line. This is P6 lower than the earlier methodology used to count the poor.
Ibon Foundation reported that this is the third adjustment for the poverty threshold, the first being in 1992 and the second in 2003.
By simply reducing the poverty threshold to P46, which as mentioned is P6 lower than the 2003 readjusted poverty threshold, the number of hungry Filipinos reduced by 58,000 families. Not that they are now earning more, rather, it is because their earning of maybe P50 a day is now P4 above the poverty line when before 2011, this was P2 below.
Thus, we should sigh in relief that the city’s chief executive is not being fooled by this numbers game, whose only objective it seems is to show that the economy is improving even if it isn’t.
Now, what we have to keep a keen eye out for are the local government programs to help those who are in truth living below the poverty line to be able to get out of the rut they are in and become productive citizens contributing to the city’s growth.
Let the national government delude itself that it is achieving developments by leaps and bounds by readjusting pegs for measurements.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 13, 2012.