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Poverty number in Philippines drops
Publication Date : 29-04-2014
If government statistics are accurate, the number of poor Filipinos fell sharply in the first half of last year as the country’s economy surged, lifting millions of households above the government’s poverty line.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Tuesday that one out of four Filipinos, or 24.9 per cent of the population, was still considered poor, based on average incomes as recorded by the agency in the first semester of 2013. This was down from 27.9 per cent of Filipinos below the poverty line in the same period the year before.
“The remarkable improvement in the poverty incidencr is evidence that the Philippines’ development strategies are heading in the direction of inclusive growth,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said of the PSA report.
This brings the Philippines close to its latest goal of reducing poverty to between 20 and 23 percent by next year, although this target is far from the previous Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitment to bring it down to 16.6 per cent.
For the first time in the country’s history, the number of people considered “extremely poor” also dropped to 7.7 per cent from 10.7 per cent. Apart from the reduction in the number of poor people, the number of households below the poverty line also dipped to 19.1 per cent from 22.3 per cent.
The report on Tuesday also marked the start of more frequent reports on the poverty level in the country. The government through the PSA now uses the Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS), which replaced the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted every three years. The new method of monitoring poverty data is expected to help the government tweak its policies to more effectively help the poor.
Balisacan, head of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), attributed the reduction in the ranks of the poor to the “remarkable” growth of the Philippines in the first half of last year.
The Philippine economy grew by 7.7 per cent in the January to June period of 2013—the fastest in Asia.