MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III’s claim on poverty reduction in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) did not contradict a recent poll showing that more Filipinos consider themselves poor, a Palace official said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino’s statement on poverty in his SONA relied on “empirical data,” while the Social Weather Stations (SWS) self-rated poverty survey was based on perception.
“It’s not a contradiction. In the survey, you self-rate yourself, and we respect that… Here we have empirical data that poverty incidence was reduced by three percent,” Lacierda said.
Asked why government’s poverty reduction figures did not translate to more Filipinos perceiving a better quality of life, Lacierda said poll results depend on how the survey was conducted.
In his speech before Congress members on Monday, Aquino cited National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) data showing a decrease in poverty incidence from 27.9 percent during the first semester of 2012, to 24.9 percent in 2013.
“Ang three percentage points pong ito ay katumbas ng halos 2.5 milyon na Pilipinong nakaalpas na sa poverty line. Totoo namang dapat pagtuunan ng masusing pansin ang pinakamahihirap sa lipunan,” Aquino said in his penultimate SONA.
The NEDA earlier said that reduced poverty during the first half of 2013 was a result of the Philippine economy’s “remarkable growth” and the government’s anti-poverty measures.
Results of an SWS survey released hours before Aquino’s SONA however revealed that around 500,000 more Filipino families consider themselves poor during the second quarter of 2014.
Meanwhile, SWS data on self-rated poverty during the period Aquino was referring to in his fifth SONA somehow affirm the President’s claim. According to the survey firm, self-rated poverty decreased from 51 percent in May 2012 to 49 percent in June 2013.
Still, Lacierda maintained that the administration cannot wipe out poverty in the country overnight.
“Just for a bit of a context, you don’t eradicate poverty in three to six years. In China, it took them a decade. It takes generations,” he said.
Lacierda said the government has already put in place “massive, direct interventions” to help improve lives of poor Filipinos. (MNS)