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Fishermen, farmers still poorest in PHL


Fisherfolk, farmers, children, and individuals residing in rural areas remained the poorest sectors in 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Preliminary estimates of the 2021 poverty statistics released by the PSA on Friday showed increases in all basic sectors, with fisherfolk having the highest poverty rate of 30.6%, up from 26.2% recorded in 2018. Farmers with 30% (from 31.6%) and children with 26.4% (from 23.9%) followed.

PSA said that these sectors also registered the highest poverty incidence in 2015 and 2018.

Meanwhile, migrant and formal sector workers had the lowest rate of 10.2%, higher than 2018’s 8.8%. Senior citizens with10.3% (from 9.1%) and individuals residing in urban areas with 11.6% (from 9.3%) followed.

Compared to year 2018, significant increases in the poverty incidence were recorded in most of the basic sectors. Fisherfolk had the largest increase of 4.4% percentage points. This was followed by children and persons aged 15 years and above with disability with 2.5%, and individuals residing in urban areas 2.3%).

On the other hand, the only basic sector shows improvement from 2018 to 2021 was farmers with a significant reduction in its poverty incidence of -1.6%.

In terms of magnitude of poor population, individuals residing in rural areas had the highest numbers, at 13.67 million, up from 12.64 million in 2018. Children, at 10.46 million (up from 9.34 million), and women, at 9.99 million, are next (from 8.66 million).

Persons aged 15 and above with disabilities (271,000 from 236,000), fisherfolk (348,000 from 287,000), and senior citizens (1.02 million) were the three sectors with the fewest poor people in 2021.

Cid L. Terosa, Senior Economist at the University of Asia and the Pacific, said that fishermen, farmers, children, and people living in rural areas continue to be the poorest sectors because their market incomes are low and their access to publicly provided goods and services is constrained and limited.

“Their market incomes are low because they have low and fluctuating production and productivity,” he said in an e-mailed reply to questions.

“They cannot leverage their education, training, and skills to guarantee higher productivity, sufficient income, and a stable income stream because they have little of those personal assets. Also, their inability to participate actively and independently in markets for their products reduces their income-earning capacity,” he added. — Lourdes O. Pilar

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