By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Seven out of ten Filipinos rate themselves as poor, according to the latest survey of independent think tank Ibon Foundation.
Asked what they can say about their family’s situation, 67 percent of the 1,496 respondents said they are “poor.” Twenty-four percent said they are not poor. Six percent answered, “do not know” while the remaining three percent did not provide any answer.
Twenty-five percent of the respondents said the economy under the Aquino administration has become worse while 51 percent said that it is the same. Only 16 percent said that the economy is better.
With regard to social services, six out of ten respondents said health services were not enough.
Moreover, 48.7 percent said that housing services were insufficient in the past year, while 46 percent said that education services were not enough.
The survey was conducted from May 13 to May 23 across various sectors nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.
Government estimates are far below the survey results of the independent research group.
According to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, poverty incidence among Filipinos in the first semester of 2014 was estimated at merely 26 percent.
In the same period, the subsistence incidence among Filipinos, or the proportion of Filipinos whose incomes fall below the food threshold, was estimated at 10.5 percent.
Meanwhile, food threshold was estimated at 9.5 percent. Food threshold is the minimum income required to meet basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive. According to the PSA, during the first semester of 2014, a family of five needed at least P6,125 ($136) on the average every month to meet the family’s basic food needs and at least P8,778 ($195) on the average every month to meet both basic food and non-food needs or to live above the poverty threshold.
As of April this year, Ibon Foundation estimated that a family of six needs P1,086 ($70) a day or P32,580 ($2,100) a month to live decently.
Asked to comment on the government figures on poverty, Jose Enrique Africa, Ibon executive director, said, “the government clearly underestimates poverty.” According to government figures in the first semester of 2014, a Filipino needs only P58 ($4) per day for food and non-food items. The amount, Africa said, is enough for a kilo of rice from the National Food Authority and one-fourth kilo of galunggong (mackerel scad).