Number of food-poor families in May 2021 almost same since Nov. 2020 — SWS
MANILA, Philippines — The number of Filipino families who characterized the food they consume as poor remained virtually the same compared to November 2020 numbers, polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS) said on Friday.
SWS said in their latest survey for May 2021 that 32 percent of the respondents said that they are food-poor, 45 percent said that their food is borderline poor, while 23 percent said that their food is not poor.
Compared to the numbers taken from the November 2020 survey, there was minimal movement as 31 percent felt food-poor, 47 felt borderline food-poor, and 22 percent said they were under the not food-poor category.
In terms of locale, it was only in Mindanao where the percentage of food-poor families increased to 44 percent, compared to only 33 percent last November 2020. The number of borderline food-poor households, however, decreased from 62 percent in November to 48 percent in May.
In Metro Manila, the number of food-poor families slightly decreased from 36 percent to 33 percent, and those who consider themselves as not food-poor also decreased. If in November 2020, non food-poor families were at 48 percent, this jumped down by 17 percentage points in May, now at just 31 percent.
This led to more families labeling themselves as borderline food-poor, from 16 percent in November 2020 to 39 percent in May 2021.
“Metro Manila is the only area where Not Food-Poor families fell, down by 17 points, parallel to a sharp decrease in Borderline Food-Poor families,” SWS said.
“In Balance Luzon, the Self-Rated Food-Poor, Borderline Food-Poor, and Not Food Poor are 25%, 42%, and 33%, respectively, in May 2021 compared to 25%, 47%, and 28% in November 2020. In the Visayas, the Self-Rated Food-Poor, Borderline Food-Poor, and Not Food-Poor are 35%, 53%, and 12%, respectively, in May 2021 compared to 39%, 50%, and 11% in November 2020,” it added.
The minimum amount needed per month or the self-rated food poverty threshold (SRFP threshold) — according to respondents across the country — to maintain a decent meal was still at P7,000.
In terms of how much money families would still need before they can say that they are not food-poor, or the SRFP gap, was at P3,000.
These are similar to the figures obtained last November. However, the median SRFP threshold in Metro Manila rose to P10,000 from P8,000 in November 2020, indicating that more money is needed to ensure a non-food poor meal.
Metro Manila’s median SRFP also increased, from P7,000 last November to P8,000 — which means that families need more money to get out of the food-poor status.
“In Balance Luzon, the median SRFP Threshold rose to P8,000 (from P7,000) while the median Gap stayed at P3,000. In the Visayas, the median SRFP Threshold fell to P5,000 (from P8,000) while the median SRFP Gap fell to P2,500 (from P4,000),” SWS explained.
“In Mindanao, the median SRFP Threshold stayed at P5,000 while the median SRFP Gap rose to P3,000 (from P2,500),” it added.
Earlier, SWS also said that self-rated poverty increased slightly to 49 percent, while only 17 percent of Filipino families feel that they are not poor. Meanwhile, 33 percent said that they are borderline poor.
Figures were also somewhat similar to numbers obtained last November 2020.
SWS’ latest data was obtained over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated lockdown protocols to avoid the transmission of the disease.
However, the lockdowns have also left several industries, especially those considered non-essential, paralyzed due to lack of movement and the enforcement of health safety protocols.
Proof of the pandemic’s drastic effect on the country’s economy is the worst economic contraction registered by the Philippines, as the gross domestic product (GDP) for 2020 shrunk by 9.5 percent.
This is the worst number obtained ever since statisticians started recording GDP numbers after the Second World War.
SWS said that the survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults subdivided into 300 each from Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The polling firm maintains sampling error margins are ±3% for national percentages and ±6% for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
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