Gov’t-set poverty threshold has no common sense – Pamalakaya
Manila, Philippines – As the Duterte government crow about its claim of reducing poverty incidence in the country, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) slammed it as imprudent as it was based on a low poverty threshold. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that poverty incidence declined from 17.9% in 2015 to 12.1% in 2018, based on a P10,727 monthry poverty threshold for a family of five members.
“Ang mga burukrata sa gubyerno, ang tataas ng mga pinag-aralan, pero sa desperasyong gumawa ng pantastikong situationer ay nawawalan ng common sense. Sa poverty threshold nila, ang Pilipinong may P80 sa bulsa kada araw ay hindi mahirap,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson and Anakpawis Party-list former representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a statement.
He recalled that 2018 was the first year of implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and the rice crisis when the retail price of rice reached to as high as P50 per kilo. Thus, he claimed that it was very improbable that poor Filipinos could have break out from the impoverished state that they were in last year.
“Imoral ang hakbang na para lang banggitin na kumonti ang mahihirap ay ibaba ang poverty threshold at ideklarang hindi mahirap ang totoong mahihirap. Napakaraming mga manggagawa at magsasaka na ang nagra-rally dahil sa kronikong krisis. Kaming mga mangingisda ay sapul pa mga reclamation projects at pagpapalayas, at pang-aagaw ng traditional fishing grounds ng China sa West Philippine Sea. Walang radikal na ginawa ang rehimeng Duterte para magtulak ng pagbaba ng bilang ng mahihirap sa bansa,” he stressed.
The fisherfolk leader asserted that the poverty threshold should be replaced by the family living wage, which the Ibon Foundation computed to be at P1,014 daily. In 2015, government data reported that half of Filipino families lived under P182,000 annually or P505 daily. The eight decile of the families or 80% lived under P876 daily.
“Kaya kung family living wage ang pagbabatayan, ang mahihirap talaga ay aabot ng 50% hanggang 80% sa bansa. Napakaminoryang 20% lang nakakaalwan sa buhay,” he claimed.
Finally, he summed up that the Duterte government has only exposed itself as an anti-poor and anti-people regime, as its programs and policies are based to the outright denial and neglect of the real situation of poor Filipinos in the country. ###