National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) was delighted to the results of the preliminary report of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, or FIES, for 2018 conducted by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

As reported by PSA, poverty incidence among Filipinos has decreased to 21.0 percent during the first half of 2018 from the adjusted 27.6 percent during the first half of 2015 or a substantial poverty decrease of 6.6 percentage points over the course of three years. Sec. Pernia acknowledged the sustained economic growth and critical and broad-based reforms and investments that have translated to employment generation and social protection in reducing poverty incidence.

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According to Pernia, one of the key factors that increased family income is the growth in the construction and manufacturing sectors that created more employment opportunities for Filipinos. Pernia also highlighted the increase in income of Filipino households, as well as employment shifts to the industry and service sectors from agriculture.

Importantly, adds Pernia, “growth in per capita income of the bottom 30 percent of households picked up significantly to 29.2 percent in the 2015-2018 period from only 20.6 percent in the 2012-2015 period. This implies an increase in real incomes of the poor, which has helped in reducing poverty among Filipinos.”

Furthermore, the NEDA chief also acknowldged the implementation, expansion and enhancement of government’s social programs have also helped augment incomes. One of these is the continued implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which now includes an additional PhP600-rice subsidy cash grant.

“Moreover, the PhP1,000-pension increase from the Social Security System, which was released in March 2017, added to Filipinos’ incomes,” Pernia added.

Also contributed to this result, according to Pernia, was the roll-out of Unconditional Cash Transfers or UCT of P2,400 per household likely boosted domestic cash receipts of the poor.