Table Talk : Fewer poor Filipino families says SWS. Really? Print
Friday, 28 September 2012 14:12

BY Mike S Apostol

News item inside DZT, latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey shows that “fewer Filipino families consider themselves poor”. Meaning they are already affluent. The basis of the SWS survey was a comparison from the past quarter survey of 2012 as against the latest survey for the last quarter of 2012. In the last quarter of 2012, SWS survey showed that 51 percent or an estimated 10.3 million Filipino families consider themselves poor. Now SWS revealed in their latest survey for the last quarter of 2012 only 47 percent or an estimated 9.5 families rated themselves as poor. Four percent lower, from the survey of the past quarter of 51 percent. A four percent difference represents at least more or less 800,000 Filipino families are now self sufficient in terms of surviving the present hard times. 
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SWS as relayed to the media by Palace Spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda revealed that the improvement to the country’s marginal sector is because of the Administration’s program or the President’s project to alleviate poverty. SWS did not reveal if among the 1,200 adult respondents to gather this data on a face-to-face interview (meaning at random) included some from Mindanao and Visayas. Mindanao being the area in the country where poverty is rampant and in fact “one of the poorest provinces in the country” is found in Mindanao. If SWS did not include Mindanao in the poverty alleviation survey, the results of improvement is only in Metropolitan Manila and it does not show the true picture on whether President  Aquino’s program to alleviate poverty is successful nationwide.
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The hard fact is and it is of public knowledge that the Administration’s “pantawid” or 4 Ps program is not totally successful nationwide because it is subject to abuse. Almost all those tasked agencies and beneficiaries are reportedly abusing the program. Selection of poor families as recipients of the “pantawid” program  is at the discretion of the agency tasked to select the poor to be included in the list to receive cash benefits and almost always, relatives, teachers, land owners are included in the list. Beneficiaries too have their share of abuse on the “pantawid” program by loaning their Land Bank ATMs to loan sharks and businessmen, where the “pantawid” cash is deposited, to “cash advance their cash benefits. More than always those who loaned their cash benefits remain shackled to their debtors and it defeats the purpose of the “pantawid” program. Aside from this anathema, poor beneficiaries become lazy by leaving their farms and other menial jobs as their source of livelihood before they became “pantawid” beneficiaries. On the other hand, those beneficiaries not considered poor are taking the slots of many qualified poor people that remain to wallow in misery and poverty in the rural areas.  “Pantawid” is literally to “overcome” or “come across”, yet after the billions of pesos that the government had released, thousands of poor Filipinos remain in the “other side” where poverty is and has not come across.
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Scoop: The President must investigate this alleged anomaly happening throughout the country and those government employees who will be found involved in this “fraud” must be meted  the full force of the law or perhaps “plunder” for plundering the windfall of the poor. They are like “Genghis Khan”, the barbarian who plundered ancient Asia and robbed it of its precious culture and wealth. Agree or disagree.