Staying the course important as risks threaten to hold our people back
The Philippine Statistics Authority announced on Friday that the country’s official poverty incidence has eased to 26.3% of individuals during the first semester of 2015, down from 28.6% in 2009 before the beginning of the administration.
NEDA Director General Emmanuel F. Esguerra noted that, “Poverty reduction has been fairly broad-based, with improvements in real incomes becoming more progressive. Per capita income growth for the bottom 30% of households, at over 20% in 2012- 2015, was much faster than the average growth for all households (15.3%) and even faster compared to the top 20% of households (about 13% growth).”
Downside risks remain as disasters and shocks threaten the poor, with food inflation putting the most pressure. Three of the most destructive typhoons happened over the last 4 years. From 2011-15, 94 typhoons visited the country, 9.3% more than the number of typhoons during 2006-2010. Damage from these typhoons has tripled to P242.9 billion in 2011-2015 compared to the previous 5 years.
Department of Budget & Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad remarked, “Without the social safety nets we have painstakingly expanded due in large part to our wider fiscal space, poverty would have gotten much worse.”
“We must therefore stay the course,” said Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, chair of the Economic Development Cluster.
An expansion of the CCT is imperative to cover the transient poor families, currently at 9% of the population, who remain at risk of falling back below the poverty threshold due to illnesses and disasters.
The CCT is a multigenerational investment—the results of which can be seen exponentially clearly in time. The children of those who have been covered by 4Ps are healthier and more educated, widening the field of opportunity and empowering them to break free from the poverty trap
“Poverty is a multi-headed monster, the most wicked of the problems we face as a people. While we have enough humility to know that one administration cannot do it alone in just 6 years—indeed, it takes an entire nation to come together—we are likewise optimistic enough to keep the faith in our work to uplift those at the margins from poverty,” Abad remarked.
Thus, Purisima explained that apart from expanding the CCT program, “the government will continue to pursue financial inclusion initiatives such as microinsurance and building a credit information system along with movable collateral registries—which will give the poor and micro businesses access to finance and opportunity.”
Along with maintaining peace and stability, universal health care and universal K-12 education are integral components to the country’s inclusive growth strategy. The government remains firm in its commitment to making significant investments in these areas empowering generations of Filipinos to live a life free from poverty.
“Today, millions of Filipinos now live with less pain, less poverty, and with more hope and freedom. The enduring work against poverty is never over. This is precisely why it is important for all to be vigilantly critical and intellectually demanding of those who wish to lead this nation for the next 6 years.
Whether we succeed in lifting more Filipinos up from the reins of poverty or fall back on the mistakes of the past lies in the hands of every voter. Our active and responsible participation in our vibrant democracy is part and parcel of our work against poverty. We are confident the momentum to step forward is now greater than the inertia to fall back,” Purisima added.