Economic growth alone is not enough to lift 25 percent of Philippine population out of poverty, the World Bank’s lead economist for the Philippines said, noting that there are still areas that should be strengthened to eradicate the country’s main problem.
In a presentation at The Manila Times 3rd Business Forum, World Bank lead economist Rogier van der Brink said Philippine economic growth now seems to be more inclusive, with government data showing that from 27.9 percent in 2012, poverty incidence had dropped to 25.8 percent in 2014.
“It used to be the case that poverty is quite sticky … Now, we see this first sign of spring…,” he said, adding that current initiatives put poverty reduction targets within reach.
Still, van der Brink said vulnerabilities in the certain areas of the economy were continuing to hinder poverty reduction. These include rural regions where most of the poor population are concentrated; conflict-stricken and geographically isolated areas where poverty is chronic; and low education and agriculture productivity.
The World Bank economist said the government’s inclusive growth agenda should focus more on structural transformation in agriculture; the role of small and medium enterprises in the economy; the potential of shipping industry; and reforms in rice policy. Mayvelin U. Caraballo