Hunger and Poverty, Dissatisfaction, and Absence of Justice Reveal the True State of the Nation

The Arroyo government tried to dismiss the results of these surveys. But other surveys validate these and show the reasons why.

An earlier survey conducted by Pulse Asia from February 21 to March 8, 2008 revealed that 2 out of 3 Filipinos or 66 percent are of the opinion that the state of the economy has worsened during the last three years. This sentiment is shared by all socioeconomic classes all over the country. An overwhelming majority, 71 percent, considered themselves as poor. A similar survey by IBON Foundation showed that 79.33 percent considered themselves as poor with 70 percent having difficulties in covering their basic needs.

According to the official 2006 poverty incidence statistics, 26.9 percent of families, or 27 million Filipinos, fall below the poverty line, an increase from the 24.4 percent or 20.1 million Filipinos registered in 2003. This is even based on a very low poverty threshold of P41.25 ($0.93 at an exchange rate of $1=P44.23) per person per day. But the same Family Income and Expenditure Survey of the National Statistics Office also shows that 80 percent of Filipino families are struggling to survive on P284.33 ($6.428) a day, with the poorest 10 percent having incomes of only P90 ($2.03) a day. With an average family size of five, these figures translate to 68.2 million Filipinos subsisting on P56.87 ($1.285) a day.

Another SWS survey conducted during the same June 27-30, 2008 period revealed that 2.9 million Filipino families reported experiencing involuntary hunger. Even more telling is that those experiencing severe hunger increased to 4.2 percent, equivalent to 760,000 families in June. This is above the 3.3 percent ten-year average in severe hunger and represented an increase from 3.2 percent or 570,000 families just this March. It shows the worsening conditions of the Filipino people and the ineffectiveness of the government’s program of selling limited subsidized rice to the poor.

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