According to a poll performed by Social Weather Stations (SWS) in December 2022, more individuals felt poor in regions outside of Metro Manila in 2022, notably in Mindanao.
The 2022 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that while self-reported poverty was only 32% in Metro Manila, it was 17 percentage points higher in balance Luzon at 49%, 26 percentage points higher in the Visayas at 58%, and 58% in Mindanao.
During the yearly assessment of the SWS, conducted in Makati City on February 7, local governance specialist Czarina Medina-Guce, a consultant at the Asian Development Bank and lecturer at Ateneo de Manila, stated that this was an alarming figure.
“The self-rated poverty rate is almost half everywhere except for the National Capital Region, and when you go back to the slide, there is a tremendous rise for balance Luzon,” Medina-Guce added.
Despite the efforts of the previous administration, led by Rodrigo Duterte, to target “neglected” regions for development, the inequality remains. Duterte frequently asserted that previous administrations promoted Metro Manila at the expense of other areas’ growth.
In the study, however, self-reported poverty remained greatest in Mindanao, Duterte’s home province.
In addition to self-reported poverty, the SWS’s yearly evaluation examined developments in news awareness, political beliefs, health, and the environment based on its four 2022 quarterly polls.
Medina-Guce stated, “It is not a cause for celebration when half of the population everywhere else except the NCR is destitute.”
The results were delivered by SWS vice president Jay Sandoval, and the panel of judges included Medina-Guce, economist and Rappler blogger JC Punongbayan, and renowned human rights attorney Chel Diokno.
Since the SWS launched its quality of life surveys in July 1985, self-reported poverty has been consistently greater in Mindanao and the Visayas.
The national average criterion for self-reported poverty in the SWS survey was P15,000.
In Metro Manila, the median self-rated poverty threshold decreased from P20,000 in October 2022 to P15,000 in December 2022, from a previous value of P20,000.
In Visayas and Luzon, the median self-assessed poverty level remained at P15,000.
In the last quarter of 2022, the median self-rated poverty threshold in Mindanao decreased from P15,000 to P10,000.
According to a 2022 World Bank assessment on inequality in the Philippines, even if regional disparities have diminished over the last three decades, “differences within and between some areas persist.”