[PHOTO COURTESY OF YAHOO! NEWS - U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle greet Philippine President Benigno Aquino III before their dinner at the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, Pool)

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2011 (TRIBUNE) Whenever Noynoy issues an empty boast, which noticeably is becoming more frequent nowadays, something falls out from off the sky to knock him on the head.

Just after bragging at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum event that his administration has solved the rice sufficiency problem and that more Filipinos are getting employed, equating to a reduced number of families under the poverty level, comes another survey showing that 52 percent, or more than half of Filipino families, rated themselves as poor and barely have anything to eat.

The survey covered Sept. 4 to 7 and was commissioned by a newspaper for the Social Weather Stations (SWS) to undertake.

The results of the most recent survey indicated a disturbing trajectory of more Filipinos being engulfed by the despair of poverty and hopelessness in contrast to Noynoy’s claim of an improving and vibrant economy, a frame of mind that Filipinos are already familiar with for the more than past nine years.

The survey showed that the sampling translates to 10.4 million families who consider themselves poor. That would be more or less 50 million Filipinos who rate themselves impoverished based on the average five persons to a Filipino family.

To rate the claim of Noynoy’s improving state of the economy through the rising level of employment, the survey would also indicate that the head and adult members of the 10 million families can be deduced to believe that they are not earning enough to make ends meet, and also that joblessness has risen.

The recent survey of the National Statistics Office last July showed that of the 40 million employable Filipinos, also showed a combined underemployment and unemploment rate of 26 percent or 10.4 million Filipinos not having a decent livelihood or having no means of earning a living at all.

Add to this another estimated 10 million Filipinos working abroad and a mere 19 million Filipinos are either not complaining or have a productive livelihood.

The survey also showed that the threshold among families to rate themselves poor has also risen, pointing to the earning power of families not being able to catch up with rising prices.

A family that considers itself poor can no longer make do with P15,000 a month in Metro Manila compared to a P4,000 threshold in the previous survey. This was a jump of more than three times in the needed income capacity of a family to make ends meet.

For a family to eat decently, the amount needed also grew by P1,000 a month to P6,000 a month in the capital and a bit lower in other parts of the country.

Again as in similar surveys previously, the costly P21-billion cash transfer program to double to around P40 billion in next year’s budget was shown in the survey as not mattering at all in reducing the poverty perception among Filipinos.

Noynoy has credited the doleouts of P500 a month to the poorest of families for supposedly reducing the poverty level which the survey did not bear out.

At the Apec summit, Noynoy, however, was trumpeting three quarters of bumper harvests and increased employment opportunities for Filipinos which are both fictional based on the surveys.

The Apec meetings themselves would seek to open up economies on the Asia-Pacific, a free market concept that the country under Noynoy cannot even cope with within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.

The economy remains among the weakest in the region as a result of weak investments inflow and Noynoy has nothing to offer up to this time to counter it. And the way he does it is to brag about fictional achievements.

It’s all talk still but now its talk is spiced up with too much hot air.

52% of Pinoy families consider themselves poor — SWS 11/15/2011


A third quarter survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) on self-rated poverty and hunger found an increase in number despite the Aquino administation’s flagship anti-poverty program — the conditional cash transfer (CCT), or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

According to the Sept. 4-7 poll, 52 percent of the respondents, or an estimated 10.4 Filipino households, say they consider themselves poor and 41 percent, composed of 8.2 million families going hungry (food poor).

Self-rated poverty jumped by 15 points to 53 percent in Balance Luzon, from only 38 percent in June, the SWS survey added.

It also noted that the poverty rating rose by nine points to 62 percent in rural areas and stayed at 43 percent in towns and cities.

SWS’ newspaper partner, BusinessWorld, has first crack at survey publications.

Also, self-rated food poverty jumped to 45 percent in Balance Luzon, the highest since June 2006, from the 28 percent recorded in an earlier survey.

Poor families continued to lower their living standards, with self-rated poverty thresholds staying sluggish despite inflation, the SWS added.

“The September 2011 self-rated poverty and self-rated food poverty thresholds have already been surpassed in the past for all areas,” it stressed.

In terms of hunger, the SWS said this was at 28 percent among the self-rated poor.

The figure is higher than the 16 percent rating recorded among those who considered themselves as “not poor” and the 13.4 percent among those who consider themselves as being on the borderline.

Among the self-rated food poor, hunger was at 31.1 percent, more than double the 14.8 percent rating recorded among the “not food poor” and the 14.7 percent among those on the borderline.

Severe hunger, defined as experiencing having nothing to eat “often” or “always” in the last three months, was at: 5.5 percent among poor households, 2.2 percent among the “not poor,” and 0.7 percent among those on the borderline.

The SWS said the poll used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The SWS survey questions about the family’s experience of hunger, self-rated poverty and self-rated food-poverty are directed to the household head.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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