Philippine poverty incidence unchanged in past 6 yrs

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Economic growth over the past six years hardly made a dent in poverty incidence in the Philippines, as the percentage of Filipinos living below the poverty line remained practically the same between 2006 and 2012, official statistics showed.

The poverty incidence stood at 27.9 per cent in the first semester of 2012-"practically unchanged" from the same period in 2009 (28.6 per cent) and in 2006 (28.8 per cent), the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported Tuesday.

Unlike in previous poverty reports, the NSCB did not indicate the number of families and people who fell below the poverty line.

Although the poverty incidence was practically unchanged in the past six years, the number of poor people was expected to be higher in 2012 because of the country's growing population.

Norio Usui, senior country economist for the Asian Development Bank, said the government must solve the problem of jobless growth if it hoped to reduce poverty.

"I am not surprised at all. The benefits of strong economic growth have not spilled over to the people because they still cannot find a job," he told Agence France-Presse in a telephone interview.

He said the Philippines' economic model depended on consumption, strong remittances from its large overseas workforce and the business process outsourcing industry, which employs college graduates.

However, the country, with its weak industrial base, has stood out in the region, he added.

"Why do you need a strong industrial base? To give jobs not only to the highly educated college graduates, but also to high school graduates," Usui said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said it hoped to see improved results given new investments in infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing.

"Although this first-semester result on poverty incidence is not the dramatic result we wanted, we remain hopeful that, with the timely measures we are now implementing, the next rounds of poverty statistics will give much better results," Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said at a briefing.

Create quality jobs

Balisacan said increased infrastructure and business investments since the latter part of 2012 should help create quality jobs that would enable the poor to improve their lives.

The country, which has a population of about 97 million, posted 6.6 per cent economic growth last year, and this year obtained its first-ever investment-grade rating from Fitch Ratings.

However, the January 2013 jobless rate stood at 7.1 per cent, with a further 20.9 per cent underemployed, or working fewer than 40 hours a week.

About 41.8 per cent of the underemployed are in the farming sector.

Joel Rocamora, head of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, said about three out of every five Filipinos were highly dependent on agriculture. "As such, increasing incomes in agriculture will make a big dent in addressing the poverty problem," he said.

Falling commodity prices

Balisacan said underemployment in rural areas, security problems in provinces facing insurgencies and warlords, and the falling price of a number of commodities such as sugar were mainly to blame.

"If the problem of visible underemployment in agriculture is addressed, then incomes of farmers would increase, poverty incidence would decrease, and we would not be compromising food security," Balisacan said in a statement.

He expressed hopes that the next round of data would reflect the government's massive investment in human development and poverty reduction.

'Extreme poverty'

NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert said at the briefing that during the first semester of 2012, a Filipino family of five needed 5,458 pesos (US$130) to meet basic food needs every month. Families earning that amount were considered to be living in "extreme poverty."

The proportion of extreme poverty among families was largely unchanged from 10.8 per cent in 2006, 10.0 per cent in 2009 and 10.0 per cent in 2012.

A family of five family would need 7,821 pesos to meet both food and non-food needs (such as clothing, housing, transportation, health, education) every month. Family earning that much is considered to be living in "poverty."

The NSCB said 79.7 billion pesos was needed to eradicate poverty for the first semester of last year. By contrast, the government 2012 budget for its conditional cash transfer programme was 39.4 billion pesos.

Poorest provinces

Neda said that while there was a slight difference in poverty incidence between the first semester of 2009 and 2012, the results were not uniform across regions and provinces.

The NSCB identified the five poorest provinces as Lanao del Sur (68.9 per cent poverty incidence), Apayao (59.8 per cent), Eastern Samar (59.4 per cent), Maguindanao (57.8 per cent) and Zamboanga del Norte (50.3 per cent).

By region, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (46.9 per cent), Region 12 (37.5 per cent), Region 8 (37.2), Region 9 (36.9 per cent), and Region 10 (35.6 per cent) had the highest family poverty incidence.

"This suggests that the strong economic growth in 2010 and 2012 were not enough to extricate a lot of people from the poverty trap," Dr. Benjamin Diokno of the University of the Philippines School of Economics said via e-mail.

With a report from AFP

*US$1=41.4 pesos

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash
    Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash

    Manny Pacquiao's face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero's "fight of the century" nears. Pacmania is sweeping the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. Of course, it's the fight of the century," Manila film producer Lucky Blanco told AFP. …

  • Ex-Cavite governor gets PCSO top post
    Ex-Cavite governor gets PCSO top post

    After nearly a year, President Aquino finally made good his promise to a long-time ally – former Cavite governor and congressman Erineo Maliksi – to head the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), replacing Margarita Juico who resigned in May 2014. Maliksi must be officially elected by the PCSO board members as their chairman. Prior to his appointment to the PCSO, Maliksi faced graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged illegal purchase of P2.5 million worth …

  • US, Phl military exercises to focus on sea defense
    US, Phl military exercises to focus on sea defense

    A massive deployment of aircraft, personnel and warships characterizes this year’s Balikatan between the two allies, which war games were launched 30 years ago. Commander Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy public affairs chief, said the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4) will link  up with the US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force. …

  • P-Noy seeking united Asean stand on China
    P-Noy seeking united Asean stand on China

    With China’s actions threatening to “considerably alter the way of doing business globally,” President Aquino will ask the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take a united stand against Beijing’s massive reclamation activities and other provocative acts in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. Aquino will raise the appeal to his ASEAN counterparts when they meet on April 27-28 in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia. Beijing reacted immediately to the plan, saying the …

  • OIC exec backs BBL, says passage to end extremism
    OIC exec backs BBL, says passage to end extremism

    The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) yesterday backed the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), warning that failure to see the peace process through with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) could open the door to extremism. OIC secretary-general Iyad Bin Amin Madani, who is in the country to rally support for the peace process and the BBL, told reporters at the Senate yesterday that the Philippines should not waste the opportunity to attain lasting peace in Mindanao, especially …

  • Senate plan to probe corruption in judiciary opposed
    Senate plan to probe corruption in judiciary opposed

    The head of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is opposing the plan of the Senate to investigate alleged “justice for sale” in the judiciary. In an interview yesterday, IBP national president Vicente Joyas contested the pronouncement of Senate President Franklin Drilon that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee can probe the reported corruption in the judiciary, as it remains part of the scope of the Senate’s investigative power. “The plan of the Senate to push through with the …

  • PNP: Floyd camp charging P.2 M for pay-per-view
    PNP: Floyd camp charging P.2 M for pay-per-view

    The camp of Floyd Mayweather is reportedly charging the Philippine National Police P200,000 for a pay-per-view deal of his fight with Manny Pacquiao, a PNP official said yesterday. Director Danilo Constantino, the PNP’s Chief Directorial Staff, said the cost of the pay-per-view for the fight makes it difficult for the PNP to sponsor the free viewing for its personnel and their dependents at Camp Crame’s multi-purpose center. “We are currently negotiating for the pay-per-view and we ever …

  • No disruption in gun permit issuance – PNP
    No disruption in gun permit issuance – PNP

    There has been no disruption in the issuance of permits to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) since former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima was suspended in December 2014, an official said yesterday. PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina is the one signing the PTCFOR cards, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said. Cerbo, however, could not say when Espina started signing the cards and how many PTCFORs have …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options