MANILA - The government is lining up "long-term solutions" to address poverty, Malacañang said Sunday after more Filipinos deemed themselves poor in a nationwide poll.
A Social Weather Stations survey showed that 48 percent of respondents, which translates to around 11.1 million families, viewed themselves as poor in the second quarter of 2018. This was 6 percentage points higher than 42 percent or an estimated 9.8 million families who said they were poor in the previous quarter.
Among the government's measures to address poverty are the lifting of import quotas for rice and an P8.3-trillion drive to build new roads and railways that will lower the prices of goods, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"We are putting in place long-term solutions to significantly reduce inflation and help poor Filipino families, such as pushing for rice tariffication as rice accounts for around 20% of the total consumption of the poor and implementing our Build, Build, Build Program to lower the transport cost of food and goods," he said in a statement.
Malacañang is taking the results of the poverty survey "seriously", Roque said, but added that the poll's timing should be considered.
He noted that when the survey was conducted last June, inflation figures were announced and families "felt the pinch of higher food prices", especially rice, due to weather-related delays in the distribution of cheap imports.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, he said, has distributed Unconditional Cash Transfers to around 3.8 million of the 10 million poorest beneficiaries.
The Department of Transportation, meanwhile, launched its aid program for jeepney operators with valid franchises this July, he said.