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Lack of jobs, corruption hamper poverty reduction in Philippines

English.news.cn   2013-12-09 17:49:20            

MANILA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The lack of jobs and corruption are major factors behind the slow decline in Philippine poverty rate, analysts said Monday.

University of Asia and the Pacific (UAP) economist Cid Terosa said the slow increase in the number of jobs is a key reason behind the slow pace of poverty reduction in the country.

"Poverty reduction has been slow because growth in the number of jobs has been slow and less inclusive," Terosa said.

University of the Philippines economist Solita Monsod said corruption is also making it difficult for the government to significantly reduce poverty.

"A higher economic growth rate will not translate into less number of poor people nationwide if inefficiencies in the government such as the pork barrel issue would persist," Monsod said.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) released on Monday its latest report which showed a slight improvement in the country's poverty incidence last year.

In 2012, NSCB said poverty incidence in the Philippines eased to 25.2 percent of the population from 26.3 percent in 2009.

Among Filipino families, poverty incidence also declined to 19. 7 percent last year from 20.5 percent in 2009.

But NSCB Secretary-General Jose Ramon G. Albert said the improvements are not "statistically significant."

Even Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan observed that the decline in poverty has been "slow."

Despite this, however, Balisacan said the government is not giving up its commitment to the United Nations under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to reduce poverty incidence to 17.2 percent by 2015.

Former Budget Secretary and University of the Philippines economist Benjamin Diokno said, however, that halving poverty incidence by 2015 may no longer be feasible.

"The goal of cutting poverty incidence by half by 2015 is virtually beyond reach. For one, growth has been uneven. There is a big disparity between the share of the richest 10 percent of the population and the poorest 10 percent," Diokno said.

What would make it more difficult for the government to hit its MDG target is the spate of natural disasters that struck the country. The NSCB said the Philippines was hit by seven major natural disasters between 2009 and 2012.

"The earthquake and typhoon Haiyan (alone) could cause 1.5 million Filipinos to fall into poverty this year," an official of the National Economic and Development Authority said.

While higher economic growth could boost confidence in the country, Terosa said government must work double time to increase jobs.

"Also, public provisioning of goods and services has to be efficiently targeted," he said.

To move out of poverty, data from the NSCB showed a poor family with five members needed a monthly additional income of 2,067 pesos (47 U.S. dollars) in 2012.

NSCB data showed that a Filipino family needed 5,513 pesos (125. 55 U.S. dollars) a month to meet its basic food needs and 7,890 pesos (179.68 U.S. dollars) monthly to keep from falling into poverty.

Related:

News Analysis: Philippine economic gains fail to reduce poverty, joblessness

MANILA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) may have harped on the country's recent economic gains but it failed to address the country's biggest problem - poverty.

In a speech delivered at Thursday's opening of the 16th Congress, Aquino stressed on how the Philippines has been tagged as "a rising tiger" by the World Bank and "the brightest spark" by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He talked about the country's stunning growth, the stable inflation rate and its attainment of investment-grade status from two respected credit ratings agencies.  Full story

Editor: Hou Qiang
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