About 11.2 million families remained poor in the last quarter of 2015, while some 7.4 million Filipinos rated themselves food-poor, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
In its latest survey, the SWS said 50 percent, equivalent to 11.2 million households, felt they are poor as of December.
This is the same as the 50 percent (11 million) recorded in the September survey.
The survey was conducted from December 5 to 8, 2015.
Last year’s 50 percent average self-rated poverty rate was four points below the 54 percent average in 2014.
It was the lowest annual average since 2011 when an average 49 percent was recorded.
“The steady self-rated poverty rate nationwide in the fourth quarter was due to a sharp decline in Mindanao, offset by increases in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila and Visayas,” the pollster explained.
Self-rated poverty fell by 19 points in Mindanao to 51 percent in December, bringing the island’s 2015 average to 63 percent, just a point below the record in 2014.
It rose by eight points in Balance Luzon to 46 percent.
In Metro Manila, self-rated poverty went up to 37 percent from 32 percent.
It also rose five points in the Visayas to 71 percent from 66 percent.
Also, the SWS found that 33 percent or 7.4 million families consider themselves “food-poor,” two points below the 35 percent or 7.8 million logged in September.
The dip was attributed to a drop in Mindanao that was offset by an increase in the Visayas and steady rates in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon.
Self-rated food poverty fell by 13 points in Mindanao to 41 percent in December.
In the Visayas, it rose by 10 points to 50 percent.
The rate, however, hardly changed in Metro Manila at 21 percent, though the full-year average dipped five points to 22 percent in 2015 from 27 percent in 2014.
The self-rated poverty thresholds, defined by SWS as home expense budget in order not to be considered poor, was at record-high—P20,000 in Metro Manila, P10,000 in Balance Luzon and in the Visayas and P8,000 in Mindanao.
The median food poverty threshold—the lowest monthly food budget needed by families so as not to be classified food-poor was P7,000 in Metro Manila, P5,000 in Balance Luzon and the Visayas and P4,000 in Mindanao (from P5,000 in September).
“The December 2015 median self-rated food poverty threshold in the Visayas is the highest level ever reached in this area,” the SWS said.
Malacanang welcomed the survey’s findings, saying it encourages the administration “to further maximize the country’s resources toward greater inclusivity.”
“Our 2016 budget attests to this commitment. The Department of Education will again have the largest share, and funding support will continue for the Conditional Cash Transfer program. Its benefits are clear: initial studies by the DSWD indicate that already 1.5 million households—or about 7.5 million Filipinos—have been lifted above the poverty line through CCT,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.
Lacierda added that the Aquino administration, through its various agencies, will continue programs that address poverty and hunger in the country.