Most Filipinos have the impression that members of the Philippine House of Representatives (HOR) belong to the well-to-do classes if only because there are less than a handful of congressmen and women who are not millionaires.
When a summary of the House members’ statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) was released in July, many news organizations reported that only three declared a net worth of less than a Php1 million.
But a closer look at the Congress members’ SALN numbers over the years would confirm the initial impression that the HOR is a place of wealth. More than that, historical statistics also show that the number of the truly wealth, or those with fortunes of Php50 million or more, has been on the rise, pulling up the average in recent years.
The average net worth of House members almost doubled from Php52.5 million to Php99.8 million in just six years, according to official reports on the congressmen’s submitted statements of assets, liabilities and net worth since 2011.
In its latest report, the HOR listed nine congressmen of the 17th Congress with a net worth of not less than half a billion pesos as of 2017 (see table). This number also almost doubled from just five in 2011, the oldest available year of the report found on the HOR’s website.
As of 2017, 93 out of the 292 elected congressmen have at least Php50 million in their portfolios, making up 31.8 percent. This is a significant growth from 2011, when only 70 out of 284 or about 24.6 percent of the house members filed the same figures.
Meanwhile, those with fortunes of less than Php50 million have been declining. It's no surprise, then, that the number of those with less than a million pesos in net worth number only three.
Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH' data journalist. FOllow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg