Good news: 2 in every 1,000 previously poor Filipino families have risen above poverty from 2006 to 2009.
Bad news: the total number of poor Filipinos rose by almost a million in the same period.
According to the latest poverty statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board, poverty incidence among families (or the ratio of poor families against total number of families) in the Philippines dipped slightly to 20.9 percent in 2009, from 21.1 percent in 2006.
The number of poor families, on the other hand, rose by 185,000, totaling 3.86 million; in 2006, the magnitude of poor families was 3.67 million.
The numbers may seem contradictory, but they are actually not, government statisticians say.
What the figures mean is that, while some families were able to improve their lot and rise above the poverty line, the ranks of the poor continues to swell because the total number of Filipino families increased.