DAVAO CITY – Joy Hariol, 44 years old and a resident of Bangkerohan, provides for his family by selling rags at three pieces for P100. He has two children in Surigao province who he visits every week. He would stay for four days in Surigao during his visit so he could also tend to their “basakan” (farm land).

Notwithstanding his source of livelihood, he still finds it hard to buy food.

“Maglisud mi og palit og pagkaon kay nagsaka ang presyo sa palaliton (We find it difficult to buy food because prices of commodities have increased),” Hariol told Davao Today in an interview on Wednesday.

This is the reason why he would endure selling rags while tending to their farm so he could provide for his family.

Sixty-two-year old, Catalina Sinoy, a native of Pantukan, Compostela Valley, believes her life and that of her family were easier before compared this year.

“Karon nagmahal ang paliton, nagmahal tanan,” Sinoy said adding that her siblings would approach her for assistance as she receives her pension.

“Wala koy problema kay nagpension man ko pero akong mga igsoon magduol gyud sila sa akoa tungod sa kawad-on, walay maayong trabaho. Lahi gyud sa una kesa karon kay karon lisud gyud ang panahon (I don’t have a problem since I am receiving pension. But my siblings would go to me because they have nothing, they don’t have decent jobs. Times are hard now),” Sinoy said adding that she would even be approached by their neighbors to borrow money so that they can buy rice.

Sinoy said aside from her pension, she would sell beef meat to offices in private residents “door-to-door.”

Think-tank IBON Foundation released the result of their latest survey on Wednesday which shows that majority of Filipinos “see themselves as poor.” IBON said seven out of 10 Filipinos rated themselves as poor.

The survey also shows that many Filipinos has difficulty with their basic expenses in the past three months.

Majority of the respondents also believe that their livelihood has not improved compared to a year ago, with 59 percent saying their livelihood remains the same and 21 percent answering that their livelihood became worse.

“Asked how their family met household expenses in the past three months, 59 percent said they had difficulty in paying for electricity while only 29 percent said they did not have difficulty. Of the 1,501 respondents, 53.6 percent said that they had difficulty in buying enough food. As for buying medicines or paying for medical treatment, 50.8 percent said that they had difficulty,” IBON said.

The respondents also said they had difficulty in paying for their children’s schooling (38.6 percent), for transportation (41 percent), and for water (38.9 percent).

The survey was conducted from January 19 to 30 across various sectors in 16 regions. The survey, which used multi-stage probability sampling, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

Cora Espinoza, the chairperson of urban poor women’s group Samahan ng Maralitang Kababaihang Nagkakaisa (SAMAKANA) in Davao, said the survey speaks of the situation of the communities being organized by SAMAKANA.

“There are families who find it a hard to eat three meals a day,” Espinoza said.

“Sometimes they would eat without viand. They buy a kilo of rice and that will be their meal for the whole day,” Espinoza said saying the food is hard to divide in a family with six members.
Malacañang said the government is determined to reduce poverty through its various programs.

“The government continues and will continue to fight poverty and evidence of that is our poverty alleviation intervention programs,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.

“Every economist knows that the fight against poverty is a sustained fight that requires sustained intervention and it takes decades,” Lacierda said, commenting on the latest IBON survey.

One of the government’s primary programs in poverty reduction is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, also known as the Conditional Cash Transfer program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The program has a budget of P62.3 billion and provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to help reduce poverty for 4.3 million families.

But Espinoza said Malacanang’s statements are mere rhetorics as development “is not felt by the poor in the communities.” (With reports from Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)

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