MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday expressed concern over the rise in the number of Filipinos who view themselves as poor, even as it vowed to implement measures to ease the burden of the country’s poorest.
Fifty-two percent of 1,500 respondents in the September poll of the Social Weather Stations considered themselves as poor. This translates to around 12.2 million families.
The figure is the highest since the similar 52 percent in December 2014, the pollster said.
The third quarter reading also showed that 36 percent or about 8.5 million families considered the type of food they eat as "mahirap" or "food-poor." This is 2 points above the 34 percent or 7.8 million in June 2018, and is the highest since the 37 percent in June 2015.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is implementing measures to cushion the impact of inflation and “bring food on the table of poor families.”
“Walang pamilyang Pilipino ang dapat magutom. Iyan ang atas at hangarin ng Pangulo,” Roque said in a statement.
(No Filipino family should go hungry. That is the order and aspiration of the the President.)
Consumer prices rose 6.7 percent in September, slightly below forecasts, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Friday, as government economic managers and analysts pointed to signs that inflation was easing.
The rise in consumer prices accelerated for the ninth straight month, from 6.4 percent in August. At 6.7 percent, September inflation was the fastest since February 2009.
Roque said the destruction to agriculture and infrastructure caused by typhoon Ompong in the Cordillera, Ilocos and Cagayan contributed to faster inflation.
When President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in June 2016, self-rated poverty was at 45 percent.
Duterte has promised to uplift the poor by spreading development to the countryside, increasing spending on agriculture and lowering income tax rates.
The September 15 to 23 survey has sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages.