Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume 2, Number 8              March 31 - April 6,  2002           Quezon City, Philippines

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Nearly 88% of Filipino Families Live in Poverty --- IBON

IBON Foundation, Inc. discloses that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos do not meet decent standards of living. In a recent study, the independent research think-tank also stresses that the government’s poverty incidence of 34.2% is “woefully understated.”


The Badjaos of Zamboanga. Photo by Sid Balatan

A recent study conducted by IBON Foundation, Inc., an independent research think-tank reveals that 87.5% of Filipino families do not earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living.

The study compared IBON estimates of the daily cost of living to government data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

"Despite government's and the World Bank's declaration that the economy is improving under Arroyo, our data reveal otherwise," IBON Research Director Antonio Tujan, Jr. said. "How can they claim that the economy is improving when an estimated 13.4 million families are living below the poverty line?" he asked.

The IBON study also criticized government estimates that 34.2% of Filipino families live in poverty as "woefully understated." IBON believes that these estimates are based on a "ridiculously" low annual per capita poverty threshold of P13,916. Based on this figure, the government claims that a Filipino only needs P38.13 a day to meet all his or her basic needs.

"Even the poorest of the poor will tell you that P38.13 is not nearly enough to meet one's daily needs," Tujan stressed. He questioned the Arroyo administration's sincerity in `winning the fight against poverty within the decade' though its Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2001-2004.

"The MTPDP is essentially a blueprint for neo-liberal globalization," said Tujan, adding that "neo-liberal policies such as liberalization, deregulation and privatization will not eliminate poverty, but only aggravate it."

Tujan pointed to Arroyo's refusal to increase the minimum wage and her over-bloating of the military and defense budget with the latest Balikatan 02-1 exercises, as "exposing the government's true anti-poor character."

"Arroyo is obviously more interested in catering to foreign and big business interests than hearing the cries of the poor," he concluded. Bulatlat.com

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