THE number of Filipinos who consider themselves poor fell for the first time in three quarters, according to the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Friday.
The poll, conducted from June 23 to 26, showed that 44 percent of respondents or around 10.1 million families considered themselves poor.
The figure was six points lower than the 50 percent or an estimated 11.5 million families recorded in March, the SWS said.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella welcomed the survey results, saying the drop in self-rated poverty nationwide was “very, very significant.”
“We’d like to believe that President Duterte’s administration has been able to deliver services that had been neglected or slowed in the past,” Abella told reporters.
When President Duterte assumed office in June last year, self-rated poverty was at 45 percent. It fell to 42 percent in September but rose to 44 percent in December and then to 50 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
SWS attributed the decrease in self-rated poverty nationwide to lower scores in Luzon and Metro Manila, which tempered slight increases in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Self-rated poverty dropped 16 points in Balance Luzon (Luzon excluding Metro Manila) to 34 percent and eight points in Metro Manila to 28 percent.
It rose seven points in the Visayas to 64 percent and four points in Mindanao to 57 percent.
The same survey also found that 32 percent of those polled considered the type of food they eat as “poor,” termed by the SWS as “food-poor.” This was three points below the 35 percent logged in the previous quarter.
The SWS said respondents needed a monthly budget of at least P10,000 so as not to be considered poor. The respondents said they needed P5,000 more to meet that monthly threshold.
For self-rated food poverty, the threshold was P6,000 a month, but respondents said they were short of that by P2,500.
“These values are higher in the June 2017 survey compared to their March 2017 counterparts, meaning families are in need of more money and lack more money to escape food poverty,” the SWS said.
The latest SWS survey, conducted among 1,200 respondents and first published by BusinessWorld, had sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.