NSCB reports 1 in 5 Filipino families 'poor'

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Monday, December 9, 2013

MANILA (Updated) -- One out of five Filipino families was poor as of 2012, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported on Monday.

The 2012 full-year official poverty statistics showed that there is a 19.7 percent poverty incidence in the country, a minimal dip from the 21 percent recorded in 2006 and 20.5 percent poverty incidence reported in 2009.

Every three years, NSCB releases data on the country's official poverty incidence based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office.

NSCB said, "Although the proportion of poor families has been practically similar between 2006 and 2012, on account of the country’s growing population, the estimated number of poor families has risen from 3.8 million in 2006 to 4.2 million in 2012."

The data showed that the Philippine population between 2010 and 2015 is projected to be between 94 million and 102 million, growing at an average of 1.82 percent.

NSCB added that in 2012, a Filipino family of five needed P5,513 to meet basic food needs every month and P7,890 to stay above the poverty threshold and provide basic food and non-food needs.

Food-poor Filipino families or those considered living in extreme poverty made up 7.5 percent of the entire population in 2012, almost the same in 2009 but lower than the 8.8 percent in 2006.

Despite the rise in the number of families in the country between 2006 and 2012, the estimated number of extremely poor families has remained steady at around 1.6 million, NSCB said.

"In 2012, on the average, incomes of poor families are short by 26.2 percent of the poverty threshold. This means that a poor family with five members needed a monthly additional income of P2,067 to move out of poverty in 2012," NSCB added.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said that the recent report showed a slow decline, but it is an accomplishment or a work in progress in the fight against poverty.

Arsenio Balisacan, Neda director general and Socioeconomic Planning secretary, said that poverty incidence in 13 out of 17 regions across the country declined in 2012 compared to 2009.

In Caraga for example, poverty incidence among families slid 14.2 percentage points. This reflected the impact on poverty of Caraga’s 10.6-percent growth in 2012. Caraga has the second fastest gross regional domestic product growth among all regions, coming from an 8.5-percent growth in 2011.

Meanwhile, more families said that they were poor in Soccsksargen, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and the National Capital Region compared with the last survey, due to natural calamities and weak economic growth.

"To address this, the government has been implementing programs and projects like the Pantawid Pamilya Program, the Community-Based Employment Program, and the Sustainable Livelihood Program, among others, to empower the most vulnerable sectors of our society," Balisacan said.

He added that disparities in poverty across the country needed strategies that promote growth outside Metro Manila, such as infrastructure development and investment in human capital. Balisacan also pointed out the impact of natural disasters which cancels out economic gains in vulnerable regions. (Sunnex)

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