the total country numbers are not very different in the june 2013 survey versus the previous survey, done in march 2013. but the specifics of the numbers tell a different story in this latest Pulse Asia survey on how filipinos feel about the economy compared to last year.
just like previous survey held in march 2013, most of the respondents surveyed felt the economy is the same this year versus last year – 43% in june 2013 versus 42% in march 2013. there is a slight decrease in respondents, by -5% points who think the economy is better this year than previous year to 28% from 33%. consequently, a slight increase showed in respondents saying the economy is worse this year from previous – to 29% from 25%.
but the national picture is just half the story. going down to the details by area and socio-eco class is where the real story is.
in these numbers, the poor are saying the economy this year is worst than last year.
there is a drop in numbers for those who feel the economy is better than last year across all socio-eco classes – 37% to 30% for ABC; 35% to 30% for D and 28% to 20%.
that is consistent with an increase in numbers who feel the economy is worse than previous year specifically among the poor – to 37% from 32% among the E and to 28% from 22% among the D. no change among the ABC at 22%.
looking at the areas, there is a very dramatic increase in the balance Luzon or provincial Luzon areas where it deteriorated to 24% from the previous 14%. areas outside metro manila or the NCR is where most of the poor reside.
there is not much to look at among those who think the economy has remained the same as the numbers are about the same in the latest survey versus the previous except for NCR where a huge jump occurred to 50% from 39%.
there were also dramatic drops in those who think the economy is better than previous year in NCR to 25% from 40%.
from a total country perspective, the number of those who think the economy is the same versus last year did not change but the number of those who think the economy is better dropped to 28% from 33% and consequently those who thought the economy is worse increased to 29% from 24%.
based on the numbers this more pessimistic view of the economy, those thinking it became worse that last year are coming from the poor, those who belong to the DE socio-eco classes who come from the provincial areas outside of NCR.
the rich and poor divide has always been the key issue in the philippines. these just underscores the fact that the country needs to do even much more to alleviate poverty with a specific target of getting the improving and impressive GDP growth numbers benefiting much more the poor than the rich.
this is good news – the philippine economy growing with its GDP improving by 7.3% during the current year’s first quarter versus a 0.5% growth same period year ago. it is good news at face value but looking into what happened in the first quarter, it’s an expected growth since this is an election year. first quarter growth was most likely driven by election spending which naturally were expected to peak during that period with the election held in the 2nd quarter.
this phenomenon is a regular occurrence during election time in the country. a similar impressive GDP growth, the highest in the country’s history, was recorded in 2007 during the election period as well, that time the election for senators.
there are two more sobering points to consider – one is that the country’s GDP growth in most instances pale in comparison to the GDP growth of other countries in Asia. looking at those numbers, one might say the country’s eco performance may not be that impressive after all.
During the first quarter,
- Singapore’s economy grew 15.5 percent;
- Thailand, 12 percent;
- Malaysia, 10.1 percent;
- Vietnam, 5.8 percent;
- Taiwan, 13.3 percent;
- China, 11.9 percent;
- Hong Kong, 8.2 percent; and,
- South Korea, 7.8 percent.
the key question that needs to be asked all the time when looking at impressive GDP growth is the question of sustainability. country economic data like most other financial numbers go through cycles of peaks and valleys. peaks that are sustainable, that can be achieved over a long period of time is what we want. since this latest eco growth is mostly election spending driven, that means it is not sustainable. the next election is scheduled years from now, not on a quarterly basis.
at around the same the GDP data was released, the government released a different data that we think the government, this time the incoming aquino administration, need to watch more closely.
this data says the country’s poverty level has remained the same.
GDP growth is a good thing, but what the country needs a lot more of is that the poverty rate of the country to go down. a growing GDP rate and stagnant or increasing poverty rate means the rich is getting richer while the poor remain poor or are getting poorer.
a very large portion of the philippine population is poor where the DE socio-eco class accounts for at least 83% of the population. reducing poverty in the country will mean affecting a much larger chunk of the population in a very positive way.
the stage is set for the aquino administration.