For the Record
On the 2003 poverty statistics
This article seeks to clarify some of the points reported in the article entitled “P1,400 monthly enough for family of five - gov’t” that appeared in the May 10 issue of the Business World, containing some misquoted figures on poverty.
The news article
In the May 10 article of Mr. Jeffrey Valisno, the author wrote the following:
A Metro Manila worker earning a daily minimum wage of P300 has more than enough to support a family of five, at least two years ago, the government claimed yesterday.
Based on its 2003 Preliminary Poverty Incidence Estimates, the National Statistical Coordination Board also said that even a minimum monthly income of P1,400 was already enough for this family.
It also said minimum wage earners with a monthly net income of P7,000 in Metro Manila could no longer be considered poor since P1,400 was the poverty threshold.
A minimum wage earner in [Metro Manila] can support a family of at most five members,” statistics board chief Romulo A. Virola told reporters.
In the eighth paragraph of the article, the author also mentioned the following:
The government also claimed that 11 out of 17 regions likewise succeeded in reducing poverty incidence in those three years.
- Dr. Romulo A. Virola, Secretary General of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), presented the highlights of the 2003 poverty estimates in a press briefing held on May 9, 2005 at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
- In his presentation, hardcopies of which were provided to the media, it was indicated in slide 21 that the annual per capita poverty threshold for the National Capital Region (NCR), was estimated at P16,796 in 2003. Computed on a monthly basis, the per capita poverty threshold is equal to P1,400 per month, which represents the required monthly income per person . These figures were likewise shown in slide 21.
- Therefore, the P1,400 required monthly income is only for one person and not for a family of five as stated in Mr. Valisno's article. In fact, a family of five in NCR, as reflected in the same slide, would require a monthly net income of P6,998. . Thus, a minimum wage earner in NCR (non-agricultural sector) receiving a daily wage of P280 or a monthly income of P7,280 in 2003 could support a family of, at most, five members.
- In slide 25 of Dr. Virola's presentation, it was shown that 12 out of 17 regions, and not 11 as mentioned by Mr. Valisno in his article, succeeded in reducing poverty incidence.
The NSCB would like to stress that the official methodology uses the income approach to poverty measurement, which essentially is a quantitative and objective approach to poverty assessment. Self-rated poverty estimates, on the other hand, are generated from essentially perception surveys and are therefore more qualitative and subjective in nature. The two sets of estimates obviously have their own uses. The self-rated poverty statistics, for instance, reveal the sentiments of the people and how they feel about their economic status. The official statistics, on the other hand, reveal whether the people have enough money to pay for their basic needs.
Also, it should be noted that the latest official poverty estimates were based on the 2003 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), which is conducted nationwide by the National Statistics Office (NSO) every three years. Strictly speaking therefore, its results could only be analyzed vis-à-vis the 2003 self-rated poverty estimates and not with the 2004 or 2005 self-rated poverty estimates. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the official poverty estimates and the self-rated poverty estimates use different methodologies, which, strictly speaking, are not comparable.
The NSCB would like to thank Mr. Jeffrey O. Valisno of the Business World for his interest in our statistics and for his contribution in the dissemination of official statistics.
Tables and technical notes on poverty statistics are posted in the NSCB website (http://www.nscb.gov.ph/poverty/default.asp). For further inquiries, please contact Ms. Didi M. Ignacio, Ms. Glennie Amoranto, or Ms. Bernadette Balamban at telephone numbered (632) 896-7981 or through e-mail addresses firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , and firstname.lastname@example.org .