More Pinoys remain poor, says NSCB

The country's poverty situation hardly improved nearly two years through the Aquino administration.

In fact, poverty has become harder to escape, results a Cabinet official said was below expectations.

Some 22.3 percent of Filipino families were considered poor as of the first half of 2012, slightly lower than 22.9 percent in the same period in 2009, the National Statistical Coordination Board said Tuesday.

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The numbers represent those below the poverty threshold, which determines the monthly income that will satisfy a family's food and non-food needs.

In 2012, the poverty threshold was pegged at P7,821--higher than the P7,040 in 2009 and P5,586 in 2006.

To meet food needs alone, a family needed P5,458 in 2012; P4,903 in 2009; and P3,894 in 2006.

Worse, the income gap--or the amount Filipino families need to escape poverty--also increased to P2,284 in 2012 from P2,042 in 2009 and P1,682 in 2006.

Based on the income gap, NSCB estimated that the government needed a total of P79.7 billion to eradicate poverty in the first half of 2012. 

The first semester 2012 result on poverty is "not the dramatic result we wanted," Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan said in his speech following the release of the data.

The Cabinet official, however, said the government remains hopeful that, "with the timely measures we are now implementing, the next rounds of poverty statistics will give much better results."

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Such improve figures, he added, "will reflect the government's massive investment in human development and poverty reduction, which understandably needs time to take full effect."

The latest poverty data also "demonstrate the diversity, not only of existing geo-economic conditions across regions, but also the different responses to policies on growth and development," Balisacan said.

This, as he urged that "the problem of poverty requires a comprehensive, multi-pronged, multi-sectoral solution involving many stakeholders."

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