MANILA (UPDATE) - The number of Filipinos who consider themselves poor fell to a record low of 42 percent in the first quarter of 2018, down from last quarter's 44 percent, according to a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Wednesday.
This translates to around 9.8 million families, down from 10 million families last December, the SWS said.
SWS attributed the decrease in self-rated poverty nationwide to a sharp decline in Mindanao, which tempered slight increases in Metro Manila and Visayas, while the rating in Balance Luzon was unchanged.
The last time the self-rated poverty level reached 42 percent was in September 2016.
"The proportion of Self-Rated Poor families stayed within the 44% to 50% range for the whole of 2017. It has been at 50% or below since September 2015," SWS added.
Meanwhile, the number of families who consider themselves “food-poor” fell to a record-low of 29 percent or 6.7 million families in March 2018.
"This is the first time for Self-Rated Food Poverty to be below 30 percent," SWS said.
This is 3 points below the 32 percent or 7.3 million families recorded in December 2017.
According to the survey, food poverty fell in all areas except in Visayas, where it increased by 13 points to 45 percent from 32 percent last quarter.
Respondents in Metro Manila said they needed a monthly budget of P20,000 for them not to be considered poor. Meanwhile, a monthly budget of P10,000 was needed by those in Balance Luzon and Visayas, and P15,000 in Mindanao.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed the record-low number of Filipinos who consider themselves poor.
“Our poverty-alleviation efforts are thus gaining ground as we continue to assure everyone that no one will be left in the Duterte administration,” Roque said in a statement.
“We would enhance our social protection mechanisms, which include quality healthcare and conditional cash transfers through revenues generated by the first package of the comprehensive tax reform program while expanding regional and countryside development to bring comfortable life to the marginalized and disadvantaged families.”
The survey was conducted by SWS from March 23 to 27, 2017 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults aged 18 and above nationwide.
SWS surveyed 300 adults each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
It had sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.