On latest poverty threshold
Try living with P350 a day – Anakpawis solon to PSA execs
Butuan City – While on a campaign trail in Agusan del Sur, Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao slammed the latest pronouncement of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that the poverty threshold since first semester last year is pegged at P10,481 per month for a family of five members. This simply means families living above the threshold are not considered “poor” or excluded being counted within the 16% poverty incidence among families, or 21% of the total population.
“While we respect the hard-working employees of the PSA, but with this pronouncement, is the letter P in the acronym of their office now stands for ‘psywar,'” the lawmaker lambasted.
He said so, as this contributes to conditioning of the people’s mind that poverty under the Duterte administration has been reduced, when actually it was only the threshold that has been tweaked to lead a lower rate of poverty incidence at 21% from the 2015’s 27.6% .
“This would be a moral crime, as this deny that families living with a household daily income of P360 or P400, are even deprived of being considered poor,” the lawmaker said.
The lawmaker was also baffled of what “market basket” or list of goods and services with corresponding costs, was used by the agency to come up with such unworldly threshold.
“When the price of a kilo of rice are at least P40, thus, two kilos for family consumption would already be more than a fifth of the daily treshold,” he said.
If necessary, for the PSA executives to get a grasp of the real feeling of being included in the poverty incidence, he challenged them to live by their set amount.
“We dare those responsible for pegging this threshold to live by P350 a day, and afterwards try to decide if families living by P400 or even P600 still should not be considered as poor,” he dared.
He then insinuated that the agency may be pressed by the administration to contribute in painting a rosy picture of the poverty situation in the country.
“If this threshold is to remain as it is, and consequently used by employers groups to justify depressing wages, or by the administration that their policies are on the right track benefitting the people, I will personally push for a congressional hearing or briefing on this issue,” he vowed. ###