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LKI Letter to PSA on poverty incidence report

P.O. Box 1161, QCCPO, NCR, Philippines 1100

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National Statistician and Civil Registrar General

8/F CRS Building

PSA Complex, East Ave.

Diliman, Quezon City


December 12, 2019

Good morning, Usec. Dennis Mapa.

The Laban Konsyumer Inc. is a non-stock and nonprofit consumer advocacy group organized under Philippine laws, is a registered consumer organization of the Department of Trade and Industry under CPAB Recognition No. 2019 -0001 and a full term member of the Consumers International under Membership No. F-3058.

Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) and its President Vic Dimagiba would like to write to you regarding our group’s concern over the  revised  data regarding poverty statistics. There is an inconsistency in the data that has been released and revised.

Our consumer group was quite alarmed when the PSA announced the revised 2015 poverty  incidence in December 5, a day ahead of the 2018 poverty incidence report.

The revision of the assumptions for 2015 was released in October 2016, but announced only in December 5, 2019.

What we wish to inquire about is the original 2015 poverty incidence report was 21.6 percent or 21.9 million Filipinos.

But with the revisions as stated above, the poverty incidence report was revised to 23.3 percent or 23.5 million Filipinos. We were initially curious whether this means a difference of 1.6 million Filipinos who are no longer poor.

The 2018 poverty incidence report of 16.6 percent or 17.6 million Filipinos is admittedly a reduction in the number of poor Filipinos.

Here were our initial analysis and findings: Without the revision, the reduction of poor Filipinos is 4.3 Filipinos. With the application of the revision, the non poor Filipinos increased to 5.9 million Filipinos.

But with this… Several questions arise: So are 1.6 million Filipinos poor or no longer poor? What is the true impact of the revisions?

Our statement is explained by these findings. After further study we understood that the revision actually means 1.6M more people were poor and the original report was understated. It seems that the revision really worked to make the poverty reduction efforts look good.

To be put plainly: By revising the previous poverty assumptions (although an appropriate action to ensure the numbers are accurate based on changing parameters such as inflation), the PSA managed to make the performance of poverty reduction efforts under the  Duterte administration  appear more effective.

However the assumptions can still be disputed, particularly the assumption that  a monthly income of P10K  is enough to declare a family of five as “not poor.”

The PSA stands by the “poverty threshold” saying it will cover the bare minimum, but that may not be an accurate measure, especially if we are using poverty data to determine what more can be done to help the poor.

When it comes to consumer rights, assuming the bare minimum at P10K a month for a family of 5 may also be unfair considering inflation is highly unpredictable.

Thus we are led to investigate and ask what prices were used when you computed the budget of P10K. If the budget does not match market prices, you may have a problem with the public as the findings will be seen as suspicious.

We hope for your feedback soonest possible and will await your response and reply on the matter.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Very truly yours,


Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, AB, LLB, LLM