GOV’T SURVEY SHOWS NO IMPROVEMENT IN POVERTY, INCOME GAP

Data from the 2006 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) indicate that poverty and high income inequalities remain an urgent concern that the Arroyo administration needs to address.

The share of the poorest 30% of the country’s families in 2006 accounted for only 8.6% of the total country’s total income, while the top 10% account for almost 36 percent. This was almost the same as the 8.5% and 36.3% recorded in the 2003 FIES.

Further, using government’s own family living wage, poverty actually increased between 2003 and 2006. Comparing the 2006 FIES to average annual living wages (for a family of six) showed that poverty increased from 82% in 2003 to around 86% in 2006.

IBON executive editor Rosario Bella Guzman said that the figures underscored the problem of an inequitable economy that favors a few while neglecting the welfare of millions of Filipinos.

In fact, the combined wealth of the 40 richest Filipinos according to Forbes Asia is US$17 billion (P773.5 billion at P45.5:$1), which is equal to the total incomes of nearly 60% of Filipino families or almost 52 million Filipinos.

The problem of poverty and inequality, Guzman said, is certain to linger especially in the absence of genuine reform policies that would result in a just redistribution of productive resources in the country.

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