During PNoy’s first 34 months, 1.32M Filipinos joined the ranks of the poor

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Today, of 98.558 million Filipinos, more than 27.59 million are poor.

Of the 98.558 million, 10% or 9.855 million (almost ten million) are dirt poor. They barely have anything to eat and to live decently as human beings.

Of the 27.59 million poor, 1.32 million became poor during the first 34 months of the presidency of Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III.
Of the 1.32 million, 35.7% or almost half a million became dirt poor—people whose standard of living is so pitiful they cannot be considered human beings.

This is the conclusion one can draw from the poverty statistics released Tuesday, April 23, by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the statistical arm of the country’s highest economic planning body, the Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which is headed by its director general, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, an anti-poverty specialist.

There is another way to interpret the poverty survey. In the latest April Social Weather Stations survey of senatoriables, only 800,000 votes separate UNA opposition candidates Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. and Gringo Honasan, both No. 13, from the Liberal Party’s Grace Poe and Antonio
Trillanes III, both No. 12. Since half of the 1.32 million who became poor under BS Aquino are voters, they may vote for Jackie Enrile and Gringo to defeat Grace Poe and Trillanes and send the accidental president a message.

Balisacan disclosed the findings of the National Statistical Coordination Board on poverty incidence in the country based on the census (the Family Income and Expenditure Survey) conducted last July 2012 by the government.

The survey findings are grim. Not only was poverty incidence (measured as a percentage of the population) not reduced. The ranks of the poor—which is measured in absolute numbers or by the millions, increased significantly, from 24.79 million in 2006, to 26.08 million in 2009 and to 27.5 million today.

Not only did the ranks of the poor increase significantly. Their share of the national income was reduced even while the share of the rich became even bigger.

This inequality is also shown by the fact that of the total individual tax payments collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, 93.2% is shouldered by ordinary wage earners and only 6.8% is paid for by businessmen and professionals. This is wang-wang (abuse) in action.

That is why of the 15 richest (dollar billionaire) Filipinos in this country, only two are in the BIR’s list of 100 largest individual taxpayers. This is wang-wang (abuse) in action. More than half of BIR’s Top 500 individual taxpayers for 2011 are foreigners, not Filipinos.

Poverty, measured by the number of people who are poor, worsened.

Inequality—measured by the share of the low income class of the total economic pie, worsened in the land of Daang Matuwid. So much for that slogan: Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap (“If no one is corrupt, no one is poor”).

About 28 of every 100 Filipinos are considered poor. This is the poverty ratio in the first semester of 2012. This 27.9% ratio is almost the same as the poverty ratios of 28.8% in 2006 and 28.6% in 2009. This is assuming a survey margin of error of 2% or less.

In 2012, among the 28% who are poor, about 10% are extremely poor—the same ratio as in 2006 and 2009. The 10% translate into almost ten million Filipinos extremely poor.

In other words, between 2006 and 2012, the government has failed to reduce poverty significantly in the last six years. Since we are talking about ratios—a percentage of the population—poverty seems to be stagnant. It is not when you consider absolute numbers.

In July 2006, there were 86,092,295 Filipinos. Of that 28.8% or 24.794 million were poor.

In July 2009, there were 91, 207,542 Filipinos. Of that, 28.6% or 26.085 million were poor, an increase of 1.29 million poor from July 2006.

In July 2012, there were 96,6569,098 Filipinos. Of that, 27.9% were poor or 26.97 million were poor, an increase of 885,000 from July 2006.

Back to July 2010, when BS Aquino started his presidency. There were 93,006,479 Filipinos. Of that 28% were poor, or 26,041,814. Subtract this number from the 26,970,678 who were poor in July 2012 and you get 928,864—the number of Filipinos who joined the ranks of the poor between July 2010, when BS Aquino began office, and July 2012—when the government made the poverty incidence survey.

Add to the 928,864, the number of people who joined the army of the poor in the nine months from August 2012 to April 2013—395,860 and you get 1,324,724. About 1.324 million Filipinos enrolled in poverty during BS Aquino’s first 34 months of presidency Since BS Aquino III has been in office for nearly three years, his administration cannot escape blame for this unmitigated state of poverty.

Why no progress
Economic Planning Secretary Balisacan blames slow growth in agriculture, disasters and natural calamities, as well as peace and order problems in some regions, for the disappointing progress on poverty reduction.

“While the economy grew by 5.9%, which was later revised to 6%, in the second quarter, the agriculture sector growth had been slow-moving with a contraction in the fishery sector,” Balisacan said.

BS Aquino won overwhelmingly as president in May 2010 on the slogan“kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (“If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor”). The Aquino administration is not perceived to be corrupt. Yet, close to 28 million Filipinos (out of a current population of nearly 100 million) are poor.

In terms of number of families, the NSCB estimates a poverty incidence of 22.3% during the first semester of 2012, and 23.4% and 22.9% during the same periods in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

There are 20 million Filipino families (at five Filipinos per family).

A poverty incidence of 22.3% of total families means 4.46 million families are poor.

Bna.biznewsasia@gmail.com

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