Blessed are the poor?

More than a million more Filipino families than in the last survey period felt “poor” in the second quarter of this year — April to June, the last few months before the national leadership officially changed hands.

From 10.9 million in the first quarter of 2022, 12.2 million families signified the same by June.

That is a difference of 1.3 million — significant if you consider how the issue of hunger has troubled our world more than ever these days as global circumstances have pushed economies to the brink.

The ongoing health pandemic, now aggravated by a new, highly transmissible variant called Centaurus, plus the war between Russia and Ukraine — and now also the brewing tensions between China and Taiwan — bring forth factors that experts predict will adversely affect movements in the world.

Self-sufficiency is key, on different levels.

This is why worth examining is a new item in the said Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from 26 to 29 June, which revealed that 48 percent of Filipino families rated themselves as “poor” when, just the previous month, the number was 43 percent.

Increased self-perception of poverty was noted in Metro Manila and the Visayas region.

What’s important to note is the chunk of the population characterized as “newly poor,” or those who had never experienced being poor or even “borderline poor.”

SWS said: “Of the estimated poor households in June, 2.2 million were newly poor, 1.6 million were usually poor and 8.4 million were always poor.”

Also, as reported in broadsheets, “of the 13.3 million self-rated non -poor families in June, 5.3 million were newly non-poor, 3 million were usually non-poor and 5 million were always non-poor.”

Do we blame then-outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte for this poverty rate?

Of course not — forces on the global front had markedly affected prices of fuel and food by the first half of the year that one’s monthly income simply could not cover enough anymore.

The first order of the day, then, for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was to get a strong team to address the country’s economy, and health, and to head the agriculture department and ensure food security and sufficiency.

Strength comes from within, and that cannot be truer in this sense.

One thing going for us, Filipinos, is our optimism in the face of even the worst challenges.

This is seen once more in another SWS poll where it was found that more Filipinos believe things will get better soon than those who believe otherwise.

The survey released on 10 July said “46 percent of adult Filipinos expressed the belief that the economy will improve in the next 12 months.”

Yes, Filipinos keep the faith, even with the inflation rate for June 2022 still at a high at 6.1 percent, even with Centaurus and monkeypox in the picture, and even with warplanes too near our mind spaces.

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