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Poverty in the Philippines: Self-Rated Poverty

Poverty in the Philippines: Self-Rated Poverty

Jan 25, 2012

Poverty in the Philippines: Self-Rated Poverty

(Note: This piece is a segment from a larger article “Poverty in the Philippines: A Profile”, showcased in Focus-Philippines’ upcoming Poverty Policy Review)

Self-Rated Hunger and Poverty

Source: Social Weather Station

Oftentimes objective poverty lines can fail to capture the finer nuances of how the poor and nonpoor assess their respective situations. Based on the SWS self-rated poverty incidence from 1983 to 2011, we observe a wildly fluctuating, yet steadily decreasing rate of self-reported poverty by Filipinos— a perception which is clearly coloured by the immediate political events of the time.

The apex in self-reported poverty in Philippine history is reached on July 1985 with 74% of respondents reporting poverty, at the height of the scandal in which the Marcoses’ assets in the United States were exposed to the public. Following the first year of Aquino administration, the self-rated poverty incidence plummets to an unprecedented 43%, the lowest self-reported poverty rating in Philippine history. By the end of the Aquino regime, self-rated poverty would shoot back up to 72%, after which it would take a noticeable, less fiercely shifting decline over the years.

One consistent trend is that the direction of the movement of self-rated poverty immediately shifts in the period immediately before and after presidential elections. After the experience under Aquino, the second most pronounced decline in self-reported poverty ostensibly takes place under Gloria Arroyo’s regime between September 2003 (66%) to June 2004 (46%).

The ratings of self-rated poverty under the Noynoy Aquino government are currently pegged at 52% of the population as of September 2011. This is a marked increase from the noteworthy low of March 2010 (43%), at the height of the electoral campaigns of 2010— the only point in recent history that equalled self-rated poverty in the first year of Corazon Aquino’s administration.

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