ALMOST half of Filipino families in the country have considered themselves “poor,” according to the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

In its survey done from April 19 to 27, the SWS found that the number of families who see themselves as poor rose from 10.7 million in December 2021 to 10.9 million in April 2022. This is 43 percent of the respondents.

The survey added that 34 percent of the Filipino families have rated themselves as “Borderline Poor,” while 23 percent said they are “not poor.”

In December 2021, 43 percent also felt poor, while 39 percent rated borderline poor and 19 percent not poor.

Increase in Mindanao and Metro Manila

The SWS said that compared to December 2021, “self-rated poor” rose in Mindanao from 43 percent to 60 percent and in Metro Manila from 25 percent to 32 percent. But it fell in the Visayas from 59 percent to 48 percent, and in Balance Luzon from 41 percent to 35 percent.

It also found out that borderline poor rose in the Visayas from 33 percent to 46 percent, but it fell in Mindanao from 48 percent to 33 percent, in Balance Luzon from 34 percent to 28 percent, and in Metro Manila from 47 percent to 42 percent.

The number of those who felt “not poor” also rose in Balance Luzon from 25 percent to 37 percent, but it fell in the Visayas from eight to six percent, in Mindanao from nine to seven percent, and in Metro Manila from 28 percent to 26 percent.

SWS said the rise in self-rated poverty in the country was due to the increases in Mindanao and Metro Manila, combined with decreases in the Visayas and Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila).

‘Newly poor’

The April 2022 survey also showed that 6.1 percent of the self-rated poor families asked by SWS if they ever experience being “non-poor” (either not poor or borderline) in the past have said they were non-poor one to four years ago.

Aside from the 6.1 percent families considered as “newly poor,” there were also 4.5 percent who felt they were “usually poor” or non-poor five or more years ago, while 32.2 percent said they are “always poor.”

These figures, according to the SWS, translate to 1.5 million newly poor families, 1.1 million usually poor, and 8.2 million always poor, out of the estimated 10.9 million self-rated poor families in April 2022.

Economic recovery

In a statement, Malacañang vowed to work hard to lift the Filipino families from their poor condition.

He said the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has taken a heavy toll on income and job opportunities as reflected in the SWS survey, the reason that the government has accelerated social and economic recovery while managing the risk due to the disease.

“For the immediate term, our efforts include shifting to Alert Level 1 to further improve the performance of key sectors such as tourism and opening of schools for face-to-face learning,” said acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar.

He added that the government recognized that much has to be done to eliminate poverty in the country, but to address this problem, “we have adopted a Ten-Point Policy Agenda for Economic Recovery last April 2022.”

Andanar said all government agencies are directed to ensure all-related policies, programs and measures of the government are aligned with the Ten-Point Policy Agenda.

The SWS April 2022 survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide. Of the respondents, 13 percent came from Metro Manila, 45 percent from Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila), 19 percent from the Visayas, and 23 percent from Mindanao.

Forty-eight percent are from urban areas, and 52 percent are from rural areas. (SunStar Philippines)