Over 26M Filipinos living in poverty in first half of 2021 — PSA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 17) — More Filipinos were pushed into poverty in the first six months of 2021 versus the same period of 2018, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed Friday.

“We had set a target of reducing poverty by 6 million Filipinos by 2022. We have achieved that in 2018. But as of the first half of this year, there are 3.9 million more poor,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Chua said in a briefing.

Poverty incidence among Filipinos was estimated at 23.7%, up from the 21.1% recorded three years earlier. This means 26.14 million Filipinos were found to be living below the poverty line of ₱12,082 per month for a family of five, the PSA said.

The data also indicated that poverty incidence among Filipino families stood at 18%, translating to 4.74 million poor families, higher than 2018's first-semester figure of 4.04 million.

The number of Filipinos living in subsistence or extreme poverty also increased to 10.94 million from previous 2018 data of 8.5 million.

“We have to work hard to at least bring them out of poverty before the term ends,” Chua said.

During H1 of this year, Filipinos had to deal with stricter COVID-19 rules where only essential services were allowed amid rising cases.

“We are hoping that the second half of the year where we see better growth and employment prospects will help us achieve that or at least minimize the impact on the poor,” the NEDA official added.

After the Philippines faced a spike in cases driven by the Delta variant, the pandemic response task force decided to impose the COVID-19 alert level system in Metro Manila last September.

The new approach, which opens more sectors and allows local government units to place specific areas under granular lockdown, has been expanded across the Philippines starting November.