MANILA (UPDATE) - The number of Filipinos who consider themselves poor fell to a new record low of 38 percent in the first quarter of 2019, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed Tuesday.
The figure, which translates to some 9.5 million families, is 12 points below the 50 percent recorded in December 2018, and 4 points below the previous record-low of 42 percent in September 2016 and March 2018.
SWS attributed the decline to decreases in all regions: 16 points in Balance Luzon (35 percent), 12 points in Mindanao (37 percent), 6 points in Visayas (55 percent), and 2 points in Metro Manila (28 percent).
Of the 38 percent self-rated poor families, 26 percent said they were "always poor," while the remaining 12 percent slipped into poverty.
Of the 62 percent who rated themselves as non-poor, a record-high 15 percent said they pulled themselves out of poverty.
The survey also found a record-low 27 percent, or 6.8 million families, who consider themselves as "food-poor."
The rating is a 7-point decrease from the previous quarter's 34 percent and a 2-point decrease from the former record-low of 29 percent in March 2018.
It fell by 11 points in Mindanao (27 percent), 7 points in Balance Luzon (24 percent), 3 points in Metro Manila (19 percent), and 2 points in Visayas (42 percent).
Respondents nationwide said they needed a monthly budget of P10,000 for them not to be considered poor.
The first quarter poll was conducted from March 28 to 31, 2019. It has a margin of error of ±2.6 percent for national figures.
Malacañang welcomed the results of the survey, saying it shows that the Duterte administration "continues to break barriers."
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo assured Filipinos Wednesday that poverty reduction efforts remain on track as the government eyes to uplift 6 million Filipinos out of poverty by the time President Rodrigo Duterte steps down.
"We aim to reduce poverty from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2022, which is equivalent to lifting about 6 million Filipinos out of poverty by the end of the President's term. And we will grind daily to reach this goal," he said in a statement.