By Chino S. Leyco
The number of Filipinos considered poor by the government declined last year on improved labor market conditions that increased the salaries and wages of many, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.
The poverty incidence, or the proportion of poor Filipinos whose income was insufficient to meet their needed basic food and services, declined to 16.6 percent last year from 23.3 percent in 2015.
In a briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the rate was equivalent to 17.6 million Filipinos living below the government’s poverty threshold of ₱10,727 for a family of five per month.
Among families, the proportion of poor families in 2018 was estimated at 12.1 percent, which is equivalent to around three million households.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) was pleased with the result showing a fewer number of poor Filipinos, noting the government has made significant progress, not just in terms of increasing overall income but also reducing inequality as well.
Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Adoracion M. Navarro said the 2.23 percentage points annual reduction in poverty incidence showed that the Philippines is on track in meeting its target of 14 percent by 2022.
“We are also likely to meet the Sustainable Development Goal or SDG target of eradicating extreme poverty as defined by the international poverty line and cutting by half the proportion of the population living below the national poverty line by 2030,” Navarro said.
In fact, we have almost reached our target to lift 6 million Filipinos out of poverty by 2022 as 5.9 million have already been lifted out of poverty as of 2018.
According to NEDA, the significant reduction in poverty, equivalent to 5.9 million individuals, was due to the country’s vibrant economy.
Navarro said the rosy Philippine economy continued to generate good jobs, noting the mean salaries and wages for the population already went up by 22.8 percent to ₱156,114 last year, from ₱127,122 in 2015.
“For those in the bottom 30 percent of the population, mean per capita income increased by 31.87 percent. This outpaced the 18 percent income growth experienced by the top 20 percent of households,” Navarro said,