EconomyEditor's PickPHL poverty reduction strategy focused on job quality, safety nets

November 15, 2022
PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE government’s approach to reducing poverty will focus on enhancing the quality of jobs and expanding social protections, the Palace said.

Acting Press Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil added that the government remains confident that it can reduce the poverty rate to 9% by the end of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s six-year term. 

“The 9% goal by 2028 will be accomplished by bringing growth to a higher level, (creating) quality jobs and improving the social protection system, among others,” Ms. Velicaria-Garafil said in a statement after Mr. Marcos met with the National Economic and Development Authority.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan was quoted in the statement as saying that “growth and jobs and paying attention to social protection to address shocks like typhoons and crises (will) enable us to achieve faster reduction of poverty from where it is today to the single digits.”

Bringing down the poverty rate to 9% by 2028 is achievable even with the uncertain global economy and the challenges of inflation, Mr. Balisacan said.

The poverty reduction target was first announced by Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno in July, when inflation rose to 6.4% from 6.1% in June. In August, Mr. Balisacan said the government was on track to meet the poverty goal.

The World Bank forecast in October a Philippine poverty rate of 17.1% this year, against 18.1% in 2021.

In a separate statement, the Office of the Press Secretary said the government will present the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2023 to 2028 next month. This is the first time the PDP will be presented before the start of the first full year of a sitting President.

“It will come out next month and we already briefed (the President) on the major elements… the key elements of those plans, and he provided comments, suggestions moving forward,” Mr. Balisacan was quoted as saying.

The plan involves “actionable strategies” to develop the domestic market considering its potential for attracting investment, according to Ms. Velicaria-Garafil.

Mr. Marcos asked that the plan “address the concerns of… local markets,” Mr. Balisacan said, to ensure “that they receive the same assistance.”

Mr. Marcos told Cambodian business leaders in a roundtable discussion last week that domestic markets and manufacturers are among his priorities.

Last month, Mr. Balisacan said sustained “inflation shock” could cut gross domestic product by 0.6 percentage points in 2023. Inflation rose to 7.7% in October from 6.9% a month earlier.

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index of the United Nations and Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative indicates that the “multidimensional” poor in the Philippines or those who “suffer from multiple disadvantages” aside from low income, accounted for 5.8% of the population in 2020, equivalent to 6.503 million people.

The monetary poverty index, meanwhile, came in at 2.7% of the population. Monetary poverty refers to those living below the $1.90-per-day poverty threshold in 2011 purchasing power parity terms. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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