No improvement in lives of poor Filipinos
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2013 - 12:15pm

MANILA, Philippines - Poverty incidence in the country practically remained unchanged with almost three out of 10 FIlipinos living below the poverty line in the first half of 2012, the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB) revealed on Tuesday.

Using data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office last July 2012, the NSCB released a report that measured poverty incidence or the proportion of people below the poverty line to the total population.
 
NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert reported that poverty incidence was estimated at 27.9 percent during the first semester of 2012.
 
"Comparing this with the 2006 and 2009 first semester figures estimated at 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively, poverty remained unchanged as the computed differences are not statistically significant," the NSCB said.
 
Based on the report, a Filipino family of five during the first half of 2012 needed P5,458 to meet basic food needs monthly and P7,821 to stay above the poverty threshold (basic food needs and non-food expenses) every month. 
 
The NSCB said 22 out of 100 families were estimated to be poor in the first semester of 2012 while 13 in 100 Filipinos lived in extreme poverty in the same period.
 
The agency said both of these estimates remained unchanged from similar periods in 2006 and 2009.
 
Philippines' poorest
 
According to the NSCB, the provinces with consistently highest poverty incidence in first semesters of 2006, 2009, and 2012 include Apayao, Davao Oriental, Masbate, Northern Samar, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, Bukidnon, Cotabato City, Ifugao, Lanao del Norte, and North Cotabato. 
 
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remained the poorest region in the Philippines with a poverty incidence of 46.9 percent.
 
"Problems with peace and security played a substantial role in the increased poverty incidence in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato and Cotabato City," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
 
"The past incidences of armed conflict instilled fear and retained the perception of uncertainty that reduced economic activity in the area," Balisacan added.
 
Meanwhile, the total income of the top 20 percent of families is approximately eight times of the total income of the bottom 20 percent of families.
 
 
REGION FIRST SEMESTER PER CAPITA POVERTY THRESHOLD (in Php) FIRST SEMESTER POVERTY INCIDENCE AMONG FAMILIES
2006 2009 2012 2006 2009 2012
Philippines 6,703 8,448 9,385 23.4 22.9 22.3
ARMM 6,319 8,257 10,027 43 42 46.9
Region XII 6,619 8,126 9,243 34.7 31.1 37.5
Region VIII 6,266 8,107 8,989 33.3 36.2 37.2
Region IX 6,159 8,053 8,881 41 41.5 36.9
Region X 6,450 8,456 9,604 35.1 35.4 35.6
Region V 6,618 8,420 9,022 36.2 36.5 34.1
Caraga 6,996 8,905 9,779 43.3 43.3 34.1
Region VII 7,269 8,648 9,296 35 31.6 28.8
Region XI 6,721 8,547 9,927 26.9 27.3 28.6
Region IV-B 6,238 7,751 8,527 34.1 30.6 28.4
Region VI 6,421 8,153 8,957 27.5 26.7 24.7
CAR 7,031 8,492 9,734 25.6 22.7 22.6
Region II 6,984 8,566 9,503 22 22.3 19.8
Region I 7,086 8,729 9,224 23.3 18.5 16.7
Region III 7,344 9,251 10,121 13 12.5 12.2
Region IV-A 6,611 8,481 9,601 10.1 10.8 11.2
NCR 7,718 9,456 10,084 2.8 3.7 3.8
Eradicating poverty
 
The NSCB estimated that the total cost of poverty eradication is P79.7 billion for the first semester of 2012. 
 
However, it added that the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the Conditional Cash Transfer program was only P39.4 billion for the entire 2012.
 
"[T]he problem of poverty requires a comprehensive, multi-pronged, multi-sectoral solution involving many stakeholders," said Balisacan.
 
"We are serious about the fight against poverty... Let me reiterate, that with the various programs and projects we have put in place and with the help of everyone, most especially those in government and business, we remain hopeful that the next round of results on poverty incidence would show substantial improvement," the secretary added

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