MABALACAT CITY -- The Anakpawis Party-list criticized the latest report claiming poverty incidence declined to 12.1 percent of the total number of families in the country in 2018, as compared to 17.9 percent in 2015, which was based on the P10,727 monthly poverty threshold.
“Filipinos may be poor and hungry, but they are not stupid enough to believe that they are not poor, as being claimed by the government. It even declares the minimum wage Filipino worker as not poor,” former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said in a statement furnished to SunStar Pampanga.
The government-set poverty threshold indicates that only Filipino families of five members with daily household income less than P357 could be considered poor.
Minimum wages in the National Capital Region (P537), Central Luzon (P400), Southern Tagalog (P400), and other regions are higher than the daily threshold.
“Worker strikes demanding wage hikes and job security are mounting across the country in the past years, but we have a government who does not even consider them as poor,” Casilao said.
“Farmers are restless due to depressed farm gate prices, high cost of production and government neglect, but their miseries do not automatically declare them as poor,” he added.
Casilao said he rely on the family living wage computed by the Ibon Foundation that a family of five needs P1,014 daily for their basic needs.
He urged the mass media to present its report objectively not to become instruments of government mass deception.
“The claim of declining poverty connotes that the government has carried out programs and policies beneficial to the poor sectors, when in real life, it is the opposite. 2018 was the first year of the TRAIN law, and this year was Rice Liberalization Law, all detrimental to the interest of workers and peasants in the country,” Casilao said.
“Workers remained contractuals and with slave-like wage levels, and farmers were thrown into bankruptcy. To claim poverty subsided is unjust and immoral,” he added.