Philippines' Poverty Reduction

In 2015, the poverty rate in the Philippines was at 21.6 percent, which is a five percent decline from 2006. Although poverty rates have been declining, 22 million Filipinos still live in poverty as of 2015. That makes up about one fifth of the country’s population. Here are five facts about the Philippines’ poverty reduction efforts.

Five Facts about the Philippines’ Poverty Reduction

  1. Factors benefitting declining poverty rates –Among many things, robust economic growth as well as the development and improvement of social programs have greatly benefitted the government’s efforts to eradicate poverty in the Philippines. The country has improved poverty rates by creating more jobs outside of the agricultural sector, changing coverage in health insurance programs and raising the level of compulsory education. Additionally, people are experiencing better living conditions through improved access to potable water, sanitation and electricity. These efforts have been part of the change in the last decades that have aided in the decline of the poverty rate.
  2. Factors hindering declining poverty rates  – one of the main causes for poverty is the high wealth inequality rates in the Philippines. One report showed that “the richest 1 percent of Filipinos own more than 50 percent of the country’s wealth.” Wealth being concentrated among the top 1 percent of the population limits equal opportunities. This keeps the poor in poverty. As a way for the country to move forward and reduce poverty, the government has started focusing on investment and development of the regions where poverty is more prevalent. By doing so, it hopes to mitigate the negative effects of inequality and reduce the inequality rate.
  3. Birth control for the poor – besides the programs working towards changing people’s living conditions, the government has passed a law that provides birth control to 6 million women who cannot currently afford it. This will allow families to better plan how many children they have and to be better prepared to provide for their children. This has been part of the larger plan to reduce the population growth rate from 1.7 percent to 1.4 percent. Currently, the population is 104 million and continuing to rise.
  4. Key programs to help reduce poverty – the government has made great progress in reducing poverty. It intends to continue by implementing programs such as AmBisyon 2040 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). NEDA aims to improve living conditions for those living in extreme poverty through job creation, improved health and nutrition and an increase in productivity. There is also a government program known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which has already helped reduce poverty 5 percent.
  5. The government’s goals for poverty eradication – by 2022, the government hopes to reduce poverty to 13-15 percent. The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 has set the goals for the country’s poverty reduction efforts. As part of these programs, the country wants to increase investment in areas where poverty is more prevalent, such as in Mindanao, in order to boost development and create more job opportunities for the population.

The government is hopeful that its goals will be achieved by 2020, given all the programs and efforts it is putting into eradicating poverty. These five facts about the Philippines’ poverty reduction efforts highlight the progress that has been made in the past decades. They also show areas that still need to improve in order to fully eradicate poverty in the country.

Laura Rogers
Photo: Flickr