‘Living standards comparable to 20 years ago’
By Cyril Bonabente
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:45:00 05/12/2008
MANILA, Philippines -- Half of all Filipino families considered themselves “poor” and living standards today could be considered a throw-back to 20 years ago, a Social Weather Stations survey for the first quarter of 2008 showed.
The latest survey, conducted March 28-31, showed the number of families who rated themselves poor rose from 46 percent in the last quarter of 2007 to 50 percent (about nine million families.)
In order to cope, the survey indicated that poor families have been lowering their living standards.
The Self-Rated Poverty Threshold, or the monthly budget that poor households needed in order not to consider themselves poor, has been sluggish for several years despite considerable inflation, the SWS said. This indicated “belt-tightening.”
Belt-tightening is apparently most severe in Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) where the poverty threshold remained at P10,000 even though it had already gone up as high as P15,000 several times in the past.
Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in base year 2000, today’s threshold would be equivalent to P14,980. SWS estimates the difference of P4,980 per month in purchasing power is the extent of the belt-tightening that took place.
“The deflated poverty threshold for NCR of below P7,000 per month is a throw-back to living standards of 20 years ago,” the SWS said.
In the Visayas, the median poverty threshold was estimated at P8,000 -- an amount already surpassed in 1998.
For poor households in Mindanao, the self-rated poverty threshold even went down from P8,000 to P6,000. It had already been at P10,000 in December 1999.
Meanwhile, net satisfaction with the Arroyo administration has been dropping.
The survey showed that net satisfaction with the administration’s efforts to help the poor was at a neutral +7 (45 percent of adult respondents satisfied and 38 percent dissatisfied).
Net satisfaction with the administration on this issue was in the double-digit positive range of +18 to +25 between November 2006 and September 2007.
The SWS survey involved interviews with 1,200 household heads all over the country. The non-commissioned survey’s sampling error margin was plus-or-minus three percentage points.
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