Poverty as a Social Issue in the Philippines

There is probably no other social issue more pressing and more alarming as poverty in the Philippines. It is a social issue that spills over to other areas of concern like health, education, income inequality, and even environment and urban planning. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the poverty incidence among Filipinos for the first quarter of 2015 is at 26.3 percent. This is lower compared to the same period in 2012 when the poverty incidence is at 27.9 percent. Subsistence incidence on the other hand for the first quarter of 2015 is estimated at 12.1 percent. This rate is also lower compared to the same period in 2012 when the subsistence incidence is at 13.4 percent.

While there is some hope in seeing an improvement in the incidence of poverty and subsistence in the country, this has to be analyzed together with the identified poverty threshold. Poverty threshold is the minimum income required to meet the basic needs like food, clothing, housing, transportation, health and education expenses. The poverty threshold for the first semester of 2015, is 9,140 pesos on the average, while the food threshold is at 6,365 pesos. These numbers indicate that close to 70 percent of the household income goes to food expenses. Very little is left for other expenses like housing, health, and education. This has a serious impact on the quality of life and labor productivity of the people. Even if a family is considered to be above the poverty line, members of that same household may have very little access to health care and basic education. Their value as a human resource is limited by poor nutrition and inadequate education. Those who fall below the poverty line are worse off. Without having the necessary income requirement to meet food and nonfood needs, they may be lured to illegal activities and create peace and order problems in society.