Slightly fewer Filipinos rated themselves as poor in the third quarter of 2021, according to a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The latest findings of the pollster published Saturday night showed 45 percent of Filipino families rating themselves as poor, 34 percent rating themselves as borderline poor, and 21 percent rating themselves as not poor.
“This compares to June 2021 when 48 percent felt poor, 29 percent felt borderline poor, and 23 percent felt not poor,” the SWS said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said Sunday the decrease of Filipino families considering themselves poor shows that progress has been made in the government's efforts to reopen the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SWS estimated numbers of self-rated poor families are 11.4 million in September 2021 and 12 million in June 2021
"The three-point decrease in self-rated poor in the third quarter of 2021 was due to a sharp decline in the Visayas and a slight decrease in Metro Manila, offset by a steady score in Balance Luzon and an increase in Mindanao," the SWS said.
According to SWS, the number of self-rated poor families fell in the Visayas and Metro Manila while borderline poor families rose in all areas except Mindanao.
"The three-point decrease in self-rated poor in the third quarter of 2021 was due to a sharp decline in the Visayas and a slight decrease in Metro Manila, offset by a steady score in Balance Luzon and an increase in Mindanao,” the pollster said.
Compared to June 2021, the number of Filipino families who considered themselves poor fell in the Visayas from 70 percent to 54 percent and Metro Manila from 43 percent to 34 percent.
It stayed at 38 percent in Balance Luzon from June 2021 to September 2021. However, it rose in Mindanao from 51 percent to 58 percent.
Borderline poor rose in the Visayas from 24 percent in June 2021 to 42 percent in September 2021 and Metro Manila from 19 percent to 30 percent.
It rose slightly in Balance Luzon from 28 percent to 32 percent.
In Mindanao, borderline poor fell from 42 percent to 34 percent.
Compared to June 2021, not poor hardly changed in all areas: it went from 7 percent to 4 percent in the Visayas, from 38 percent to 37 percent in Metro Manila, from 34 percent to 30 percent in Balance Luzon, and from 7 percent to 8 percent in Mindanao.
The SWS found that some 6.9 percent of Filipino families were "newly poor" or those who felt that they were not poor at least one to four years ago.
“The total percentage of poor families consists of 6.9 percent who were non-poor 1-4 years ago (newly poor), 4.9 percent who were non-poor five or more years ago (usually poor), and 32.4 percent who never experienced being non-poor (always poor),” the pollster said.
Of the estimated 11.4 million poor families in September 2021, 1.7 million were newly poor, 1.2 million were usually poor, and 8.2 million were always poor.
The third quarter 2021 SWS was conducted from September 12 to 16, 2021, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide with sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages and ±6 percent for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
In a press statement, Cabinet Secretary and acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles welcomed the SWS survey result as proof that efforts of the government to reopen the economy are bearing fruit.
“The results of the survey — particularly the decrease of Filipino families rating themselves as ‘mahirap,’ from 48 percent in June 2021 to 45 percent in September 2021 — show that progress has been made in our efforts to reopen the economy and bounce back from the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Nograles said.
He noted that the government believes that the increase in percentage of the vaccinated population and the drop in new COVID infections put them in a position to safely expand economic activities that will positively impact employment and reduce poverty.
“Our Economic Team estimates that placing Metro Manila, the center of trade and business in the Philippines, under Alert Level 2, with health and safety protocols still in place, will boost the economy by P3.6 billion and employment by 16,000 per week,” he added.
Nograles also thanked the national and local governments, the private sector, and the public for doing their part to revitalize the country’s economy.
Nograles acknowledged the results of the recent SWS poll which found that 45 percent of Filipino families considered themselves poor in September, a slight improvement from 48 percent in June.
"The government believes that the increase in percentage of the vaccinated population and the drop in new COVID infections put us in a position to safely expand economic activities that will positively impact employment and reduce poverty," Nograles said.
"We thank those in government, the private sector, and our people for doing their part to revitalize our economy so that we can resume the positive strides we were making in reducing poverty prior to the pandemic," he added.
Nograles also said placing Metro Manila under Alert Level 2 would boost the economy by P3.6 billion and employment by 16,000 per week.