More Filipinos consider themselves "poor", latest survey shows

MANILA - More Filipinos considered themselves "poor" in the second quarter of the year, according to a poll released just hours before Philippine President Benigno Aquino delivers his "State of the Nation Address" on Monday amid the biggest political crisis to hit his administration.

The survey, taken from June 27-30 by the reputable polling firm Social Weather Stations, showed that the number of families who regarded themselves as "poor" rose from 11.5 million in March to 12.1 million in June.

The Philippine Statistics Office pegs the poverty line at 16,841 pesos (S$482.83) in terms of annual household income.

The percentage of people living below that line narrowed only slightly to 19.7 per cent in 2012 from the 21 per cent reported, according to the statistics agency.

Accounting for population growth, however, that 19.7 per cent translates to 23.75 million poor Filipinos in 2012, a rise from 22.64 million six years earlier.

The Philippine economy has been growing at 7 per cent since Mr Aquino was elected in 2010, but a massive corruption scandal that has embroiled his administration and Congress is making it more difficult for him to pursue economic reforms he is expected to unveil later on Monday.

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