PSA: Farmers, fishermen remain poorest in PHL

Farmers and fishermen and children of low-income families are still the poorest of the country’s basic sectors, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PSA data showed that poverty was around 34.3 percent among farmers; about 34 percent among fishermen; and some 31.4 percent of children from low-income households in 2015.

The data was based on the 2015 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted by the PSA every three years.

“These sectors consistently registered as the three sectors with the highest poverty incidence in 2006, 2009 and 2012,” the PSA said.

However, compared to previous FIES rounds, poverty rates across all sectors were declining. Poverty rates among farmers declined to its current level from 38.5 percent, while estimates among fishermen declined from 41.2 percent in 2006.

The FIES data in 2006, 2009 and 2012 revealed that fishermen were the poorest sector. The latest PSA data showed the country’s fishermen are now second to farmers in terms of poverty incidence.

Among children of low-income families, poverty was pegged at around 35 percent in 2006, 2009 and 2012. It was only in 2015 when it posted a poverty rate of below 35 percent.

The PSA also said five of the nine basic sectors posted higher poverty incidence rates than the general population.

Apart from the top 3 poorest sectors, rounding up the five sectors that had higher poverty rates than the national average were self-employed and unpaid family workers or informal workers and women.

Poverty rates among informal sector workers declined to 25 percent in 2015, from 29 percent in 2012. It was at 30.6 percent in 2006.

Despite the country’s impressive record in gender equality, some 22.5 percent of Filipino women are considered poor. This is lower than the 25.6 percent recorded in 2012 and 25.9 percent in 2006.

The poverty rate among Filipinos nationwide averaged 21.6 percent in 2015. This was a significant decline from 25.2 percent in 2012.

The PSA data also revealed that poverty incidence among employed Filipinos was higher than the unemployed in 2015.

Data showed that poverty incidence among employed Filipinos from poor families were higher at 18 percent compared to the unemployed at 16.4 percent in 2015.

In 2014  Ateneo de Manila University economist Leonardo Lanzona Jr. said this may be due to the very low pay received by employed Filipinos.

“It may be noted, however, that the difference between the poverty incidence among employed and unemployed has declined through the years,” the PSA said.

Ending poverty is the aim of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or the Global Goals adopted by countries, including the Philippines, in September 2015.

SDG 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms by eradicating extreme poverty for all people worldwide by 2030. People living on less than $1.25 a day are considered extremely poor.

The goal also aims to reduce by at least half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions by 2030.

The SDGs are composed of 17 goals that also seek to promote universal health, education for all and lifelong learning, achieve gender equality, sustainable water management, ensure sustainable energy for all, decent work for all, resilient infrastructure and reduce income inequality between and among countries.

The goals also include create sustainable cities, ensure sustainable consumption and production, take action against climate change, conserve and sustainably use oceans and marine resources, reduce biodiversity loss, achieve peaceful and inclusive societies and revitalize global partnership for development.

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