Philippines' poverty rate rises to nearly 26%

MANILA: The percentage of people in the Philippines classified as poor rose to 25.8 percent in the first half of 2014 mainly because of a rapid increase in food prices and the effects of a super typhoon, the government said on Friday.

The poverty rate in Asia's second-fastest growing economy was 24.6 percent a year earlier, the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show.

A person is defined as poor in the Philippines if they are living on $1.3, or less, a day.

However, per capita income increased by 6.4 percent in the first half of 2014 from a year earlier.

The bottom 30 percent of income earners registered a 7.3 percent increase in per capita income, Arsenio Balisacan, economic planning secretary, said in a statement.

"Per capita income data in 2014 show that economic growth has benefited the lower income groups, including the poor," Balisacan said.

But high inflation, hovering around 6.5 percent for the food index during the period, wiped out gains in per capita income, he said.

The numbers do not reflect poverty statistics from Leyte province, ground zero of Typhoon Haiyan, a category 5 storm that caused extensive damage in that province and killed at least 6,300 people. - Reuters
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