PSA reports fewer Filipinos living below poverty line as of first semester 2018

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 10) — Numbers measuring poverty incidence among Filipinos dropped across the board, according to the latest report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines for the first semester of 2018 was released by the PSA on Wednesday. It gives important information on poverty in the country, as well as includes other indicators of poverty.

In its report, the PSA said 16.1 percent of Filipino families fell below the monthly poverty threshold - meaning they earned less than the average amount to buy the basic food and non-food requirements needed by a family of five.

This is a significant drop from the 2015 PSA report, which recorded it at 22.2 percent.

Threshold amounts rose, however. In 2015, the PSA said a family of five needed ₱9,435 to buy their necessities. The amount has since risen to ₱10,481 in 2018.

From these amounts, the PSA said a family of five needed ₱7,337 per month to buy their basic food requirements in 2018, compared to ₱6,600 in 2015.

Poverty incidence among Filipino individuals also fell, from 27.6 percent living under the poverty line in the first semester of 2015 to 21 percent in the same period last year.

The number of Filipinos whose monthly incomes fell below the amount needed to purchase basic food requirements also dipped from 13 percent in 2015 to 8.5 percent in 2018.

There was a similar trend when it came to Filipino families — from 9.9 percent in 2015 to 6.2 percent in 2018.

The PSA report, however, did not include data on what caused the changes in percentages of thresholds.

The PSA also included other poverty measures in the report, which can be used to design poverty intervention programs.

The income gap — meaning the additional amount of money needed monthly by a family with five members to get out from under the poverty line — also decreased.

In 2018, the agency said an additional income of ₱2,819 monthly, this figure is 2.6 percent lower than in 2015.

Regions with the least number of poverty incidence among families are the National Capital Region (NCR), CALABARZON, and Central Luzon for both 2015 and 2018.

Palace: Figures prove gov't is working

In a statement Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the report from the PSA prove the administration has made significant strides in addressing poverty.

Among the measures the government has taken, Panelo said, are broadening access to free education, free medicine and improved healthcare facilities, and higher pension for seniors and veterans, salary increases for soldiers, policemen, firemen, teachers and government workers.

Panelo commended the agencies and department responsible for the gains, Adding, "We will not rest but rather continue to work hard to achieve our target of decreasing poverty incidence to 14 percent, or even better, by the end of PRRD's (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) term in 2022 and fulfill the President's vision of providing a comfortable life for each and every Filipino."

Get the full report here.