Police say poverty apparently has driven a jobless woman in the Philippines to kill her three young children and herself by getting them to drink toilet cleaner before she also took some.

Senior Superintendent Raul Sandoval says the children, aged from 2 to 4, died before reaching a hospital, while their 32-year-old mother died while being treated.

He says the woman, Janeth Ponce, left a suicide note in her one-room shack in northern Laguna province's Magdalena township. She asked relatives to forgive her and care for her 7-year-old son who was sleeping in his grandmother's house at the time of the incident.

Police say her husband, a construction worker in Manila, had not sent money for a month.

One third of 90 million Filipinos lives below the poverty line of $1 a day.