Poverty incidence down as gov't shifts to new measure

Posted at 04/29/14 2:16 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the poverty incidence in the country dropped in the first half of 2013, as it shifted to a new measure.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday said 24.9 percent of Filipinos were considered poor based on their average income in the first semester of 2013, down from 27.9 percent during the same period in 2012.

The poverty incidence is based on the average income of Filipinos considered poor.

The poverty incidence based on families also dropped to 19.1 percent in 2013 from 22.3 percent in 2012.

The NEDA said the basis for the report is, for the first time, a study called "Annual Poverty Indicators" survey, instead of the usual "Family Income and Expenditure" survey. It is not clear if and how changing the basis changed the results.

According to Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, this improvement is proof of the country's efforts leading into inclusive growth.

“The remarkable improvement in the poverty incidence in the first half of 2013 is evidence that the Philippine’s development strategies are heading in the direction of inclusive growth,” he said.

The official poverty statistics used was the income data from the Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS), a switch from the previous use of estimates from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES).

Balicasan said this is the first time that the subsistence incidence, or the proportion of extremely poor Filipino families or individuals who could not afford to purchase basic food requirements, was reduced to single-digit levels.

The PSA reported that the subsistence incidence declined to 10.7 percent among Filipinos, and 7.7 percent among families.

The per capita family income reported growth rates of 12.3 percent for the first decile, 8.4 percent for the second, and 8.4 percent for the third.

It was indicated that with these figures, there is a faster growth of poor households' income compared to the slower increase of basic commodity prices.

NEDA highlighted the need to sustain the decline in poverty in the next years through continued implementation of programs.

"The government should continue to undertake the necessary measures to sustain high economic growth, and efficiently implement spatially and sector-focused economic and social programs as laid out...to ensure that the gains in poverty reduction are sustained," said Balicasan.