Philippines to cut poverty in half by 2015 from 33% to 16.6% - “reasonable assumption,”

Leading financial figures in the Philippines promised on Friday that the government was on track to growing its economy to the point of halving the nation's poverty, by 2015.

That's a sizeable prediction. Almost 28 percent of the country's 97 million residents live below the poverty line, The Associated Press reported. Government economists say they can bring that figure to 16.6 percent in just a couple of years. The government forecasts economic growth of almost 7 percent for the rest of this year, and it's not changing that prediction.

The numbers are being examined, but experts still see that growth pattern as a "reasonable assumption," said socioeconomic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

The key to achieving the poverty-reduction goal, he said, was for the government to prioritize: Job creation first, housing issues second, and cash payouts to poor, third. The country provides cash to poverty-level families with children as long as the children stay in school and make regular visits to doctors.

Creating better jobs for Filipinos and reducing the underemployment rate by half to about 10 percent over the next two years would help the Philippines achieve the nearly impossible 2015 Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction, the country's top economic manager said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that underemployment, or the poor quality of jobs among many Filipinos, was largely to blame for the extremely slow progress of efforts to lift people out of poverty over the past two decades.

Under the Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction, to which the Philippines as a member of the United Nations is committed, poverty incidence should be halved by 2015 from its level in the early 1990s.

From 33 to 16.6 percent

In the case of the Philippines, the goal is to bring down poverty incidence from 33 percent to 16.6 percent.

As of June last year, poverty incidence in the country stood at 27.9 percent.

Balisacan said the very minimal reduction in poverty incidence from the 1990s level makes the 2015 goal difficult to achieve.

"It is not impossible [to bring down poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2015], but it is very challenging," Balisacan said.  "Therefore, we need to generate jobs of good quality," he added.

The bigger problem

Balisacan said that in the Philippines, underemployment is a bigger problem than unemployment, with the underemployment rate in April pegged at 19.2 percent, which is equivalent to 7.252 million Filipinos.

Being "underemployed" technically means that people have a job, but are either looking for additional jobs, new jobs with longer work hours, or additional work hours in their present jobs.

"I would like to see the underemployment rate reduced by about half to 10 percent," Balisacan on Friday said in a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

"We also want to see an increase in the proportion of wage and salary workers to the total number of the employed," he added.

Balisacan said the Aquino administration was in the process of updating the Philippine Development Plan and would like to focus on programs and projects that would create decent jobs for the unemployed in the remainder of its term.

These programs and projects included more tourism-oriented infrastructure, a higher budget for education, and the streamlining of policies to boost the manufacturing sector, the economic manager said.


Balisacan said the government is sticking to its 6 to 7 percent growth forecast this year despite the surprising 7.8 percent GDP leap in the first quarter, preferring to be conservative due to remaining economic uncertainties in the United States, Europe and China.

The economy was projected to grow between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent next year, and 7 to 8 percent in 2015, he added.

Balisacan said infrastructure bottlenecks will be addressed and the economy diversified from dependence on consumption and services to one with stronger industries and investments.

The latest Labor Force Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office showed that the country's unemployment rate stood at 7.5 percent in April 2013, up from 6.9 percent in the same period last year.

Significant poverty incidence

But Balisacan said an unemployment rate in the 7-percent territory was not that bad, and that the country's high underemployment rate was the main reason that poverty incidence remains significant.

Data from the NSO showed that of 37.8 million Filipinos who had jobs during the period of the survey, 57.5 percent or at least 21.8 million fell under the category of "wage and salary earners." The rest were either unpaid family workers, self-employed, or employers in their own farms or businesses.

With report from Associated Press and Inquirer News

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  1. That's a good news, Yes we can do it!by good governance.And I will wait until that time will come.-360-

  2. impossible... just another propaganda, another lies

  3. you should cut corruption by 50% to cut poverty by 50%.

  4. we will see in 2015 if this is true or not. NUMBERS DONT LIE.

  5. I believe and trust this Administration we have now.

    Kudos to PNOY! kudos to his Cabinet!

    Aim High Philippines!

  6. First lower the high cost of electricity and water, at the same time improve further agriculture (introduce organic farming to most regular farmers), improve fishing industry (all by regular fisherfolks), improve infrastructure, create more huge catch basins during rainydays for farmers to use during dry season plus lessening flooding, need to support investors, need to put up more manufacturing industries like producing locally made products like appliances, computers, cellular phones, gadgets, vehicles, camera, watches, dental and medical equipment, warships, commercial jets and fighter jets, heavy duty equipment, etc.

    More flood control projects, and waste water treatment plants and properly regulate garbage collections. Improve the lives of our garbage collectors by raising their salaries and benefits plus giving them proper attire like boots, etc.

    Half of the pork barrels of Senators, Congressmen and the Executive Office including the Office of the President be used to create more industries like a Silicone Valley in Asia.

  7. It is about time to stop contractualization of employees.

    Hiring of Persons with Disability and aged persons like what they do in other countries.

    Sa stin lang naman sobra ang discrimination sa mga PWDs at mga may mga edad - pero pag mataas ang mga position they hire them - unfair labor treatment talaga sa Pinas, kaya mabagal ang pagunlad.

  8. Everything rises and falls on leadership.

    I am talking about our President, Vice President, Cabinet secretaries their undersecretaries, directors and assistant directors, Senators and Congressmen their chief of staffs, Governors, Vice Governors, Mayors, Vice Mayors, Councilors, Barangay Captains, Police Commanders, Generals, Colonels, Majors and Captains, Judiciary leaders, and in private sectors - Owners, Chairmen of the Board, Presidents, CEOs, COOs, Directors, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Assistant Vice Presidents, HR Directors, their legal counsels, Senior Managers, etc.

    If 95% of these leaders both in government and private sectors are above reproach, credible, other centered and has excellent integrity then the Philippines will be in good shape.

  9. The gap between the rich and the poor is so much here in the Philippines.

    What do it profit the rich if they gain the whole world and loses their soul because of their greed for money, power, fame,lavish wealth and lavish extravagance.

    This has to stop!



  11. words without actions is dead!

  12. Dapat pati iyong mga aged Filipinos and PWds ay mabigyan din ng trabaho at hindi na-discriminate.

    They are also Filipinos who can contribute to rebuild for a better Philippines.


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Interesting news!...