Palace admits more work needs to be done to lift Filipinos from poverty

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace admits more work needs to be done to lift Filipinos from poverty
Ortigas Business district dwarfs slum area in Pasig Floodway on May 25, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — More work has to be done to address poverty in the country, Malacañang admitted Thursday, following the release of a nationwide poll suggesting that the number of Filipino families who considered themselves as poor has increased.  

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last month indicated that 43% of Filipino families or 10.9 million rated themselves as poor. While the latest figure is similar to the 43% who considered themselves as poor last December, the estimated number of families went up from 10.7 million previously.

The April survey also found 34% of families rating themselves as borderline poor and 23% rating themselves as not poor. The levels are similar to those in December, when 39% felt borderline poor and 19% felt not poor, SWS said.

Reacting to the survey results, acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said the COVID-19 pandemic"has taken a heavy toll on income and job opportunities."

"It is for this reason that we have accelerated social and economic recovery while managing the risk due to COVID-19," Andanar said in a statement.

"We recognize that much more needs to be done to lift Filipino families from their poor condition.  We have therefore adopted a ten-point policy agenda for economic recovery last April 2022 where all government agencies are directed to ensure all-related policies, programs and measures of the government are aligned with the ten-point policy agenda," he added.

The ten principles of the government's economic recovery policy agenda are strengthen healthcare capacity; accelerate and expand the vaccination program; further reopen the economy and expand public transport capacity; resume face-to-face learning; reduce restrictions on domestic travel and standardize local governments' requirements; relax requirements for international travel; accelerate digital transformation through legislative measures; provide for enhanced and flexible emergency measures through legislation; shift the focus of decision-making and government reporting to more useful and empowering metrics; and medium term protection for pandemic resilience.
Andanar said the government's measures for the immediate term include easing the quarantine status to the most lenient Alert Level 1 to further improve the performance of key sectors like tourism and the opening of schools for face-to-face learning.

The National Economic and Development Authority previously said full economic recovery would only be possible if face-to-face classes resume since in-person learning is expected to boost business activity and allow parents to go to work.

The non-commissioned SWS survey on poverty was conducted from April 19 to 27 using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults nationwide. The sampling error margins were ±2.6% for national percentages and ±5.2% for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.


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