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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs       9  February 2011

More poor Philippine families

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THE impact of the global financial crisis and the natural disasters that struck the Philippines have resulted in more poor Filipino families, the government reported Tuesday.

In its 2009 Official Poverty Statistics report, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said poor Filipino families numbered 3.86 million, up from 3.67 million in 2006, using the new methodology.

Using the old methodology, the number of poor households reached 4.9 million in 2009, higher than the 4.7 million in 2006.

In terms of poverty incidence, the NSCB said there was a slight reduction from 21.1 percent in 2006 to 20.9 percent in 2009 using the new methodology.

The poverty incidence was 26.5 percent in 2009, slightly higher than the 26.4 percent in 2006 using the old methodology.

The NSCB said the latest official poverty data indicate that a Filipino required P974 in 2009 to meet his/her monthly food needs and P1,403 to stay out of poverty.

At the national level, a Filipino family of five needed P4,869 a month to meet the basic food needs and P7,017 to stay out of poverty.

In Metro Manila, a family of five needed P8,251 a month to keep out of poverty. Romulo Virola, NSCB secretary general said poverty estimates using both the old and refined methodologies showed similar trends.

Virola blamed the increase in poverty in the country on the rice price crisis, global financial crisis, and on Typhoons Pepeng, Ondoy and Ramil.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga said the government aims to cut the poverty incidence by at least 2 percentage points per year to achieve the 16.6 percent target by 2015. He said the government is still aiming for a 7 percent to 8 percent economic growth starting this year until 2016 to significantly reduce poverty in the country.

Joel Rocamora, lead convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission said that the new poverty counts do not imply that the work of reducing poverty has become any easier. "We will still need to reduce income poverty by more than 10 percent to achieve the MDG target by 2015," Rocamora said, referring to the Millennium Development Goals.

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