Ranks of mahirap increasing

Palace blames downturn, says number could rise due to storms

THE NUMBER OF FILIPINO FAMILIES which consider themselves as “mahirap” or poor has continued to increase this year, a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

Self-rated poverty — respondents are asked to class themselves as poor, not poor or on the borderline — was at 53% in September, up from June’s 50% and equivalent to some 9.7 million families.

A Palace official blamed the economic slowdown, and raised the prospect of the rate further increasing as two strong storms devastated parts of the country after the poll was staged.

But the result of the latest survey, made exclusive to BusinessWorld, was still lower than last year’s peak (59%, June) and the Arroyo administration’s record of 66% (hit three times, the last being September 2002).

The historical high is 74%, posted in July 1985 during the Marcos dictatorship.

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