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Philippine Poverty and Inequality Situation (as of March 2008)


Poverty Incidence

According to the Social Weather Stations (January 2008):
• Almost 1 out of 2 Filipinos see themselves as poor.
• 46% of Filipinos families (estimated 8.1 million families or about 40.5 million Filipinos out of the 2007 projected population of 86 million) see themselves as poor.

Available data from the government:
• 1 out of 3 Filipinos is poor. (2006 NSCB)
• 32.9 million Filipinos out of 88.6 million (2006 NSCB and 2007 NSO population projection data).

Other sources of data:
• There are more than 30 million urban poor or 34% of the population (Ibon, Sept 2006)
• 65 million Filipinos or 80% of the population are struggling to survive on the equivalent of US$ 2 a day (Ibon, Mar 2007) Poverty Incidence

Poverty Threshold
• PhP 41 per person per day for food and non-food needs(NSCB, March 2007)
o PhP 27 for food alone which amounts to PhP 9 per meal
o PhP 14 for transportation, shelter, education, health, water, electricity, and
§ other non-food needs except recreation and communication
• PhP 14,866 annual per capita poverty threshold per Filipino
• PhP 74,340 annual per capita poverty threshold for a family of five (5)

Cost of Living Wage
• PhP 158 per person per day for food and non-food needs (NWPC, July 2007)
• PhP 792 family living wage for a family of 5 living in the National Capital Region

Poverty Wages

16.1 million Filipino workers or more than 50 percent of the labor force (in 2005) earn wages around Php 5,000-8,000 (wages that hover around the poverty threshold), which translates to PhP33-53 per person per day (6.1 M farmers and fisherfolk and 10 M laborers and unskilled workers) (pegged at PhP41 per person per day).

(Malaluan, Nepomoceno A., Dire State of the Nation, The Crisis of Income and Employment in the Philippines , August 26, 2006)

Income Inequality
• Income of top 10% of the income decile is equivalent to 19 times that of the poorest 10 percent. (2006 FIES)
• 3.5 million families or the top 20% of the income decile account for 52.8% or more than half of the total family income, while the remaining 47.3% was shared by the poorest 80% or 13.9 million families. (2006 FIES)
• 7 out of 10 peasants still do not own land while less than 1/3 of landowners own more than 80% of agricultural land (Ibon, 2006)
• Oil companies earn PhP 110 million a day in 2006 (Ibon, 2007)
• Income inequality is intensified by regressive taxation (exacerbated by the recently imposed 12% E-VAT) (Ibon, 2007)

Status of Hunger
• 16.2% of Filipino Families or 2.9 families (approx. 14.5 Filipinos) experienced involuntary hunger (SWS, January 2007)
• Around 9.3 million Filipinos do not even meet the 100% dietary energy requirement (FNRI, 2005)

Coping Strategies on Hunger
• Cutting down the number of meals
• Sleeping through meal times
• Mothers eating smaller portions
• Skipping meals so the rest of the family will get to eat.
• Giving children to the care of relatives / other sympathetic souls
(Datinguinoo, Vinia M, The Face of Hunger is Female, November 24, 2004, PCIJ)

Based on a 2001 study Surrogate Ulam is what one-third of class E & one- tenth of class D eat in lieu of vegetables, fish or meat because they cannot afford them
• Salt, soy sauce, bagoong
• Pork / chicken lard
• softdrinks, coffee
• Instant noodles drowned in plenty of water now constitute a full meal for many poor families.

Eating pagpag or batchoy or kaning baboy (thrown left-overs)

• 12 Filipinos die of dirty water daily (Cebu Daily News citing USAID, November 7, 2006)
• More than 90% of all sewage in the Philippines is untreated
(Cebu Daily News citing the World Bank, November 7, 2006)
• 10 Filipino women die daily from childbirth-related complications because they do not have access to emergency obstetric care. We have among the highest maternal mortality rate (estimated at 162 per 100,000 live births) in Asia and the world. (FIES, 2006)
• Among 0-5 years old, 27% are underweight and 30% are short (FNRI, 2005)

• 1 in 10 Filipinos has never gone to school (6.8 million) (Education Network Quick Stats, 2003)
• 1 in 6 Filipinos is not functionally literate (9.6 million),
• 4.1 million Filipinos are complete illiterate.
• 1 in 3 children/ youth is not attending school(11.6 million)
• About half(51%) of Filipinos had Elementary Education at most
• Among poor Filipinos, only about 70% can read, write and compute.
• Only a little over half(54.3%) are fully literate
• Among non-poor Filipinos, 45.3% have completed at least basic education.
• In contrast, only 14.3% have achieved this level of education among the rural poor Filipinos.

• 3,300 workers leave the country daily (Ibon, Mar 2007)
• 4.1 million Filipinos * (or 7.3% of the total labor force) are unemployed (NSO, 2005-2006)
* According to Cielito Habito, this is based on the new definition of unemployment which was introduced in 2005. Under the old definition, the current number of Filipinos unemployed is about 4 million.
• 7.47 million Filipinos are considered underemployed (or 13.4% of total labor force). Despite the slight improvement from 2006 to 2007, the average annual unemployment rate is still posted at 10.8%, just a little lower than the previous year at 11 percent. (NSO, 2005-2006)
• 861,000 (NSO 2005-2006) jobs were created by the government at the end 2007 but revealed the following:

142,000 household help or kasambahays
116,000 in transport, storage and communication 111,000 in wholesale and retail trade o what we called the ambulant vendors
103,000 construction workers
34,000 in unpaid family labor

These types of work are characterized by low productivity, below-poverty- level wages, and insecure working conditions. (Marivic Raquiza, Social Watch Philippines 2008)

• Every Filipino owes about PhP 44,000.00. (Debt Quick Stats, Freedom from Debt Coalition)
• The total debt of the Philippines as of December 2006 is $118.19 billion
• Debt service is allocated PhP612.8 Billion in the 2008 National Budget.

25 % of the Annual National Budget ends up in corruption. (PS Link)
Philippines is the most corrupt in Asia (PERC, 2007)


Government Agencies
2006 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) Final Results, National Statistics Office (NSO)
National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB)
National Wages and Productivity Commission (NSCB)
Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI)

Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC)
Ibon Development Foundation (Ibon)
Social Watch Philippines (SWP)
Education Network (E-Net)
Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLink)

For more information please contact the GCAP-Philippines Secretariat at telefax number 920-8949 or visit its office at Rm. 130 Alumni Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City


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