Merakyat.org – In a recent revelation that has stirred the nation, approximately half of the Filipino families perceive themselves as living in poverty, as per the latest data unveiled by OCTA Research. This alarming statistic, which translates to around 13.2 million households, marks a significant uptick from the 11.3 million families recorded earlier in March this year. This surge indicates an addition of nearly 1.9 million families who now categorize themselves as the ‘new poor’.
The survey, meticulously conducted between July 22 and 26, paints a grim picture of the current socio-economic landscape in the Philippines. A mere 9% of the respondents confidently stated that they were not living in poverty, leaving a substantial 41% in a state of uncertainty, unable to definitively state their economic status.
Diving deeper into the regional specifics, the Visayas and Mindanao areas have witnessed a notable increase in self-rated poverty. In Visayas, the figures soared to 57% from a previous 37%, while Mindanao saw a rise to 59% from an earlier 45%. A majority of the adults, accounting for 60%, believed that their financial situation remained unchanged compared to the preceding quarter.
When it comes to the financial threshold that separates them from poverty, the median amount cited by the respondents was 20,000 pesos per month for household expenses. This figure represents the perceived minimum amount necessary to escape the clutches of poverty.
Moreover, the study shed light on the pressing issue of food poverty in the country. Approximately 11.3 million households, or 43% of the respondents, identified themselves as food-poor during the second quarter of 2023. The region of Mindanao reported the highest percentage of families considering themselves food-poor at 54%, followed closely by Visayas at 44%. The respondents estimated that a monthly expenditure of 10,000 pesos on food would be sufficient to lift them out of the food poverty bracket.
Unfortunately, the distressing trend of hunger continues to plague the nation, with around 3.9 million families experiencing hunger in the recent quarter. The incidence of hunger was most pronounced in Visayas, with a rate of 19%, followed by Mindanao at 15%. The survey, which employed face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults, carries a margin of error of ±3%.
As the nation grapples with these unsettling figures, it beckons a collective reflection and action to address the deep-seated issues of poverty and hunger that continue to afflict millions of Filipino families.