Fisherfolk, farmers, children, and persons living in rural areas remained the poorest sectors in terms of poverty incidence in 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.
Based on the data released by the PSA on Friday, fisherfolk had the highest poverty incidence in 2021 at 30.6 percent, followed by farmers at 30%, children at 26.4%, and individuals residing in rural areas at 25.7%.
These sectors also recorded the highest poverty incidences in 2015 and 2018, and “had the highest proportion of individuals belonging to families with income below the official poverty thresholds compared to the other basic sectors,” the agency said.
This developed as the economy remains the main concern in both the macro and micro issues in the Pahayag Quarter 1 (PQ1-23) survey conducted by PUBLiCUS Asia, with the results released last 23 March.
In a statement, the polling firm said there was no change in the top issues deemed most important for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to focus on – the economy, inflation, corruption, poverty, and jobs.
Education is in the top 5 of issues among respondents aged 18 to 24, government workers, and vocational graduates, PUBLiCUS added.
Interestingly, when compared to the survey in the fourth quarter of 2022, “one can see that concern for corruption has increased marginally, from 11% (PQ4-22) to 13% (PQ1-23),” it added.
The Pahayag First Quarter is an independent and non-commissioned survey comprised of 1,500 respondents randomly drawn from the market research panel of over 200,000 Filipinos maintained by the Singapore office of PureSpectrum, a US-based panel marketplace with multinational presence.
The PSA data also showed significant increases in poverty incidence in most of the basic sectors, with fisherfolk growing the largest at 4.4% from 2018 to 2021.
Children followed at 2.5%, persons aged 15 and above with disability with 2.5%, and individuals residing in urban areas with 2.3%.
Farmers were the only ones to have a significant reduction in poverty incidence at -1.6% from 2018 to 2021.
The PSA said individuals residing in rural areas logged the highest number of poor population in 2021 with 13.67 million, followed by children with 10.46 million, and women with 9.99 million.
Persons aged 15 and above with disability recorded the least number of poor population in 2021 with 271,000, followed by fisherfolk with 348,000, and senior citizens with 1.2 million, it added.
Individuals residing in urban areas had the lowest poverty incidences among the basic sectors in 2021 with 11.6%, followed by senior citizens with 10.3%, and migrant and formal sector workers with 10.2%.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier said the Marcos administration had earmarked P4 billion this year to provide a fuel subsidy for drivers and farmers as the country recovers from the pandemic.
The DBM said P1 billion of the amount would be used to provide fuel subsidies to more than 312,000 farmers and fisherfolk – P3,000 per beneficiary – to ensure unimpeded agricultural production and fishing operations.