No change for nearly half of Filipinos

Posted on August 01, 2013

FOUR IN 10 Filipinos did not feel any change in the economy from last year, an independent pollster said in a new report, amid the continuing growth spurt from last year’s stellar performance.

File photo of a homeless family eating lunch in Quezon City. Food remains the highest expense item among Filipinos, according to the latest survey of Pulse Asia, Inc. -- AFP
A big plurality, or 43%, of those surveyed from June 20 to July 4 were of the view that the state of the national economy was “no different from last year” against the 28% who said it improved and the 29% who believed it worsened.

The economy grew by 6.8% in 2012, topping the 6%-7% official target. A faster-than-expected 7.8% also surprised economic managers in the first quarter.

According to Pulse Asia, the national average who believed that the economy was unchanged has been validated across all socioeconomic classes and major geographic areas: 48% in class ABC, 42% in class D, 43% in class E, and higher clip of 50% in Metro Manila and 48% in Luzon.

In the Visayas, public opinion was a three-way split, with 39% saying the economy improved year on year, 32% noting there was no change and 30% observing a worsening situation.

More Filipinos in Mindanao, however, believed the economy was worse off than last year at 41%, compared with the 20% who said it was better and the 38% who said it was unchanged.

Pulse Asia said figures recorded at the national level and across geographic areas and socioeconomic classes are constant between the last survey in March and June.

Only results from Metro Manila posted a hefty 15-percentage point decline to 25% on the view that the state of the economy improved over the previous year, it added.

Among those who believed the economy worsened, a small majority said they were “strongly affected” by economic deterioration, or 57% in Metro Manila, 52% in Luzon and the Visayas, and 63% in Mindanao.

The same sentiment was felt across all classes: ABC (65%), D (58%), and E (50%).

In contrast, one in two Filipinos who observed an improvement in the economy said they were only “somewhat affected by a perceived economic growth.”

This sentiment is echoed by near to sizeable majorities in Mindanao (50%), the rest of Luzon (57%), Metro Manila (69%) and Classes ABC and D (50% to 52%).

The number of Filipinos who said they “strongly felt” the effects of economic growth in their lives ranged from 23% in Metro Manila, 28% in Luzon, 41% in Mindanao to 69% in the Visayas, and 39% among class E and 41% in both classes ABC and D.

In terms of household expenditures, meanwhile, survey results noted that the highest item was food at 49%, but the share was lower than the 56% recorded in March 2011.

In addition, spending for electricity was at 29%, which is higher than the 22% share in March.

The expenditure share of other household items in the previous three months are medicines (9%), transportation (5%), water (2%), recreation-related expenditures (1%), liquefied petroleum gas (1%) and cellphone load (1%). The figures did not differ significantly from the March 2011 survey.

Sought for comment, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government is focused on ensuring inclusive growth, citing several infrastructure projects mentioned by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III during his State of the Nation Address.

“That’s called inclusive growth. You provide infrastructure so that the government is able to connect the farmers to the tourist spots. So that is one way of doing inclusive growth,” he said, referring to access roads leading to far-flung tourist areas.

“This is about making them -- our farmers, the fisherfolk, the ordinary workers [that we] have -- be part of the tide that lifts us all,” Mr. Lacierda said. -- Noemi M. Gonzales