The quality of life of most Filipinos has worsened during the past year notwithstanding the much-ballyhooed economic growth of the country, dubbed as among the highest in the region.
A survey conducted last December by Pulse Asia, Inc., a respected survey firm here, showed that 55 percent, or half of the country's population of some 100 million, said that their quality of life deteriorated in the past 12 months, while 36 percent said the national economic situation remained unchanged.
Only 9 percent of the respondents of the survey said that their life improved last year. Almost half of Filipinos, or about 45 percent, expect no change in their life quality in the next 12 months.
Another survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from Dec. 11-16 showed that some 3.9 million Filipino families have experienced involuntary hunger in the last quarter of 2013, with an upsurge recorded in the Central Philippines which was hit by super-typhoon Haiyan, locally named Yolanda, last Nov. 8.
The survey conducted by the SWS for BusinessWord, a local business daily, found that 18.1 percent of the respondents said they experienced hunger at least once in the previous three months, slightly higher than 17.9 percent, or 3.85 million, in September.
This resulted in a full-year average of 19.5 percent for 2013, 0.4 percentage point lower than that in 2012, the survey said.
The SWS survey also found that overall hunger among self-rated poor had risen to 24.6 percent from 23.2 percent, while it declined to 10.3 percent from 12.5 percent among households under not poor/borderline category.
The latest hunger survey followed the release by SWS last week of self-rated poverty in the fourth quarter of 2013 where 55 percent, or 11.8 million Filipino families, claimed to be poor.
In the same survey, the SWS found 41 percent, or 8.8 million families, who considered themselves food-poor, up from 37 percent.
The negative findings by the two survey firms only confirm earlier analysis of economic experts that the benefits of the country's economic growth did not trickle down to the majority of the Filipinos, particularly the poor, but only to the members of the oligarchy or the business community.
One analyst described the country's remarkable economic performance as "jobless growth" since it had failed to generate enough jobs for Filipinos, many of them are still forced to work abroad.
After all the data are gathered, economic managers expect the country's full-year economic growth in 2013 to be more than 7 percent.