Despite the rising economic growth rates in the Philippines, poverty in the Philippines continues to prevail nationwide. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), 21.6 percent of Filipinos live below the national poverty line.

There are many factors that create and maintain the cycle of poverty in the Philippines. Unemployment is one of the main reasons that poverty reduction has not kept up with the country’s growth. Alongside an increasing population, job resources remain insufficient for millions of Filipinos.

The Philippine poverty condition remains a challenge due to the government’s lack of capacity to establish sustainable poverty reduction programs. Governments from other countries, alongside international institutions, have implemented strategies aimed to tackle the Philippine poverty crisis. These programs share the common goal of alleviating poverty in the Philippines by addressing unemployment in the country.

The World Bank

The World Bank plays a large role in working towards eradicating poverty in the Philippines. One of the projects financed by the World Bank is the ‘Philippine Rural Development Project.’ The goal of the project is to create greater work opportunities for Filipinos in the rural areas by supporting farmers and fishermen through improving their access to markets.

As of last year, results from The World Bank reported an increase in household incomes for farmers and fisherfolk beneficiaries. As of January 2018, this project has been approved for additional financing to continue its contribution in addressing poverty in the Philippines.

The United States of America

USAID has established the Philippine-American Fund (Phil-Am Fund) as a strategy to tackle poverty in the Philippines. One of the program’s objectives is to develop solutions to the country’s economic challenges. The Phil-Am fund financially supports  Philippine organizations to support business start-ups.

This strategy to address the poverty crisis promotes entrepreneurship by offering a self-sufficient facility for citizens who do not have the capacity to take part in the province’s economic activities.

As of last year, the Phil-Am fund has managed to support the establishment of start-up businesses, provide training in standards for food-related establishments and has integrated more efficient farming technology in the Philippines.


Australia’s foreign aid to the Philippines includes ‘The Philippines’ Sustainable Livelihood Program’ (SLP), which helps Filipino families by providing employment assistance. The SLP also helps Filipino citizens start at enterprise — an approach that encourages self-sufficiency.

Australia’s aid program aligns with the Philippine government’s goal to tackle poverty and promote development. Sustainable livelihood is the primary goal of this program, and includes micro enterprises, skills training and pre-employment assistance.

Filipinos who take part in this program have agency and decision-making responsibilities by providing access to microenterprise development and employment. SLP has become an efficient platform for productivity and development and since its establishment in 2011, SLP has achieved 97 percent of targeted program participants.

Promotion of Autonomy

The above-mentioned programs designed to address the Philippine poverty crisis all share one feature: the encouragement of self-efficiency. Rather than providing charity to the Filipino citizens living in poverty, these programs empower the people by giving them access to opportunities. The citizens are provided with the agency to take control of their work, promoting an inclusive form of development.

– Dane de Leon

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