The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) sees the country’s poverty rate halved by the end of the current administration’s term in 2022.
This is in line with the more ambitious target reduction of poverty incidence to 11 percent, from the original 14 percent, by 2022, which was approved in the previous meeting of the Development Budget Coordination Committee.
“This would be the first time in history that the poverty rate will be halved in just six years,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Pernia in a statement said poverty incidence in the country dropped to 16.6 percent in 2018, averaging a reduction of 2.23 percentage points per year, making the previous target achievable by mid-2022.
“The decline was also broad-based, as all regions, except ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), recorded a decline in poverty incidence among population,” he said.
Pernia said the decline is due to “sustained growth that generated jobs for the poor, increased incomes of the poor that outweighed inflation, the implementation of social programs like conditional and unconditional cash transfers and pensions, population and family planning program, and less extreme weather conditions.”
“Inclusive, job-generating growth and better-targeted programs helped increase the incomes of the poor. For those in the bottom 30 percent of the population, mean per capita income increased by 31.9 percent, outpacing the income growth of those in the top 20 percent of households,” Pernia added.
He said the government must continue to generate more quality jobs, increase the income of the poor, reduce the vulnerability of the poor through social programs and financial literacy.
He cited the need for an intensified implementation of the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP).
He noted the importance of programs that will encourage savings to increase people’s resilience to disasters and protect against unexpected income losses or expenses, as he stressed the urgency of fully funding the NPPFP in the next three years to help further strengthen and broaden its implementation at the local level.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, meanwhile, said two more administrations after the current need to exercise the same strong political will and decisive leadership to sustain the country’s economic and social gains and continue to effect real change for the Filipino people.
Dominguez said the estimated P1.4 trillion of infrastructure and development projects in the pipeline and game-changing reforms that will ensure a resilient economy long into the future.