SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Speaker Romualdez elated by poverty numbers, says government intervention programs working
SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday expressed elation over the drop in the number of Filipino families that consider themselves poor and vowed to continue efforts to ease poverty and hunger among the population.
He made the promise as two poll-taking groups released the results of their separate surveys on poverty in the third quarter of this year.
“We should all welcome and be happy about this piece of good news. It means that the intervention programs of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., supported by the legislature, principally the House of Representatives, are working,” Speaker Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives, said.
Speaker Romualdez said the administration and the House through its leaders and members should continue pursuing projects, programs and activities that would further reduce the number of poor and hungry Filipinos.
“We are committed to do all we can to improve the situation and make life better for our people,” he said.
Speaker Romualdez attributed the decrease in the number of poor Filipino families to the overall growth of the economy, from 4.3 percent in the second quarter to 5.9 percent in the third quarter, and to government intervention measures.
“I believe that the improvement in the poverty numbers reflect the trickle-down effect of economic expansion, though we often say growth is not tangibly felt by our people. But somehow, they benefitted from it, because growth means more economic activities and additional income and job opportunities for our people,” he said.
He said government intervention and assistance programs also contributed to the decline in poverty and hunger.
“The decision of President Marcos to put a price cap on rice and his campaign against price manipulation, profiteering, hoarding, and smuggling of agricultural products stabilized the prices of basic staples,” he stressed.
He pointed out that the House helped in the President’s campaign by exercising its oversight power and conducting inquiries into supply chain problems and recommending solutions.
The House leader has launched his own intervention project dubbed CARD (for Cash Assistance and Rice Distribution), consistent with the President’s efforts to help the poor.
In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, CARD teams have distributed rice and financial assistance to thousands of beneficiaries in Metro Manila and several provinces, including Laguna, Biliran, Davao de Oro, Leyte, Camarines Sur, and Ilocos Norte.
“Nabuo ang programang ito bilang sagot sa hamon ng ating Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sa Kongreso na tumulong kung paano mabibigyan ng mura at magandang klase ng bigas ang ating mga komunidad,” Speaker Romualdez said.
CARD was launched in Metro Manila’s 33 legislative districts, with each having 10,000 poor and vulnerable beneficiaries for an initial total of 330,000 recipients.
The amount of assistance each recipient gets totals at least P2,000: P950 for 25 kilos of rice at P38 per kilo and the remaining in cash for other food essentials.
Beneficiaries include senior citizens, persons with disability, solo parents, and indigenous people.
CARD aims to reach tens of thousands of poor Filipinos in all legislative districts throughout the country.
According to OCTA Research group’s 2023 third quarter Tugon ng Masa survey, some 12.1 million Filipino families considered themselves poor, down from 13.2 million recorded in the second quarter.
This means that 1.1 million families felt that their situation was better in the third quarter than in the previous quarter, OCTA said.
On the other hand, a Social Weather Stations poll showed that the number of Filipino families who faced “involuntary hunger” at least once in the last three months dropped to 9.8 percent in September 2023, down from 10.4 percent in June this year.
SWS said the term “involuntary hunger” refers to those who experienced hunger or those who had nothing to eat at least once in the past three months.
The pollster said overall hunger decreased among those who rated themselves poor, from 10.8 percent in June to 7.7 percent in September.
Hunger also dipped among individuals who considered themselves ‘food-poor,’ from 9.4 percent to 7 percent during the same period. (END)