VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Did Filipinos become poorer under Aquino?

POVERTY worsened during President Benigno Aquino’s term, said Joey Salgado, spokesperson of former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

STATEMENT:  Reacting to Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement at an antipoverty summit that “poverty is a larger war that needs our attention,” Salgado said on Oct. 11:

“With all due respect to Vice President Leni Robredo, her party, the Liberal Party (LP), failed to address poverty in the six years it was in power. This is why poverty remains a serious problem today…despite the highly touted economic growth and credit rating upgrades, millions remained poor and jobless. We had improving GDP growth but worsening poverty. That is the real legacy of the LP.”

(Sources: “LP failed to address poverty the past 6 years – Binay,” Oct. 11, 2016, The Manila Bulletin; “Ex-VP chides Robredo over poverty tack,” Oct. 12, 2016, The Manila Standard)

FACT:  Did poverty really worsen in the last six years?

No. Poverty incidence and unemployment rate went down during the Aquino administration, government statistics show.

According to the most recent data on poverty from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released in March 2016, poverty incidence among Filipinos dropped from 27.9 percent in January to June of 2012 to 26.3 percent during the same period in 2015. (Source: Philippine Statistics Authority)

PSA defines poverty incidence as the proportion of people living below the poverty line to the total population.

But poverty did worsen at the regional and provincial levels, the same data show.

Poverty incidence rose in six regions, including the National Capital Region, between 2012 and 2015.

As well, a total of 24 provinces became poorer. Four of them–Benguet, Cavite, Siquijor and Sulu–posted more than a 50 percent increase in poverty incidence during the same period. (Source: Philippine Statistics Authority)

Meanwhile, Filipinos who rated themselves poor have also been steadily declining, from 55 percent in September 2014 to 45 percent last June, when Aquino bowed out of office, based on the Social Weather Stations’ self-rated poverty survey, The figure has declined further, to 42 percent, for the third quarter of 2016 (Source: The Third Quarter 2016 Social Weather Survey)

As for employment, the number of Filipinos with jobs grew steadily in the last six years. Unemployment rate went down from 8 percent in April 2010 to 6.1 in April 2016, weeks before elections. (Source: Philippine Statistics Authority, Labor Force Survey)