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Palace: More must be done to address poverty

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Palace: More must be done to address poverty
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last month indicated that 43 percent of Filipino families or 10.9 million rated themselves as poor. While the latest figure is similar to the 43 percent who considered themselves as poor last December, the estimated number of families went up from 10.7 million previously.
STAR / File

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

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last month indicated that 43 percent of Filipino families or 10.9 million rated themselves as poor. While the latest figure is similar to the 43 percent 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 percent of families rating themselves as borderline poor and 23 percent rating themselves not poor.

The levels are similar to those in December, when 39 percent felt borderline poor and 19 percent felt not poor, SWS said.

Reacting to the survey results, acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said the COVID pandemic took 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,” 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 10-point policy agenda for economic recovery last April, wherein all government agencies are directed to ensure all-related policies, programs and measures of the government are aligned with the 10-point policy agenda,” he added.

The 10 principles of the government’s economic recovery policy agenda included strengthening health care capacity, accelerating and expanding the vaccination program, further reopening of the economy and expanding public transport capacity, resume face-to-face learning, reducing restrictions on domestic travel and standardizing local governments’ requirements, relaxing requirements for international travel, accelerating digital transformation through legislative measures, providing for enhanced and flexible emergency measures through legislation, shifting 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 opening of schools for face-to-face learning.

The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said that 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 plus/minus 2.6 percent for national percentages and plus/minus 5.2 percent for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

POVERTY

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