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SWS: 4 of 10 Filipinos expect life to improve in next 12 months

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ALMOST half of Filipino adults expect their quality of life to improve in the next 12 months, according to Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll in March.

The pollster in a statement posted on its website said another 44% said they did not expect any changes, 7% said it would worsen, while the rest did not answer.

The pollster said about 13% of the respondents were from Metro Manila, 45% from areas in Luzon outside the capital region, 19% from the Visayas and 23% from Mindanao.

Personal optimism in Metro Manila went down to 42% from 47% in December, to 24% from 27% in the Visayas and to 32% from 43% in Mindanao, SWS said. Optimism in Luzon areas outside Metro Manila went up to 44% from 40%.

SWS said about 12% of Filipinos had at most some elementary education, 25% had some junior high school education, 28% finished junior high school or had vocational schooling, 21% attended college or finished a vocational course, while 10% finished college or took post-graduate studies.

Inflation could ease in the coming months after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. issued an order lowering tariffs on rice to 15% from 35%, Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said in a Viber message.

But typhoons could disrupt business operations in the coming months, he added.

Inflation eased to 3.7% in June from 3.9% in May, within the central bank’s 3.4-4.2% forecast, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

SWS earlier said 46% or about 12.9 million Filipinos thought they were poor, compared with 47% or about 13 million in December. It added that 3 of 10 Filipinos rated themselves as borderline poor, while 23% said they were not.

SWS interviewed 1,500 Filipino adults for the poll, which had an error margin of ±2.5 points.

The survey responses are split between optimism and a neutral belief in their future quality of life, Terry L. Ridon, a public investment analyst and convenor of the think tank InfraWatch PH, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

“A big portion of these results reflect not just current economic conditions but the general optimistic attitude of Filipinos despite economic difficulties,” he said. “This, however should not be taken by the government as a sign to lose focus on resolving pressing concerns, such as the rising prices of food and basic commodities.”

Roughly half of Filipinos feel that inflation is finally easing, “thus leading higher consumption and to good times ahead,” Leonardo A. Lanzona, who teaches economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

“The other half thinks that even if inflation slows, prices remain elevated, keeping the situation as is. The rest think we are not out of the woods yet and inflation is going to get worse,” he added. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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