A unit of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged the relevant agencies of the government, the private sector and the poor to take a concerted effort to intervene in reducing poverty in the country to the target 18 percent to 20 percent range by 2016.
The initiative should ensure the factors limiting the poor’s participation in economic growth are addressed at the provincial level, the NEDA Social Development
Committee-Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (SDC-HDPRC) said.
“Simply waiting on growth to trickle down to the poor would amount to social injustice.
Hence, we need to be more precise in our interventions, even our interventions to promote economic growth to ensure that it will be inclusive,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said in a recent speech in Cebu City.
Balisacan said many Filipinos remain poor but the government will ensure inclusive growth is achieved through substantial engagement and strong partnership with the private sector and the poor people themselves.
He delivered his speech last week in Cebu City in one of a series of activities under the government’s Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP).
The program is conducted in nine more pilot provinces, namely Pangasinan, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Leyte, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur, and Sulu. Selected cities and municipalities in the 10 provinces, where poverty incidence is at its highest, are classified as Category 1 in the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.
The ASAPP aims to significantly reduce poverty incidence among the population to 18 percent 20 percent in 2016 by creating income opportunities for the poor and enhancing their employability.
NEDA Deputy Director General Margarita Songco said the socioeconomic planning body will try to address gaps with government intervention and support from the private sector to create massive employment so that those currently considered below the poverty threshold can be included in the growth process.
“We don’t need grand projects. What we need are doable targets for the private sector, and enabling environment and commitment from the government to encourage businesses to hire the vulnerable and source inputs from them,” she said.
The agency added that other ASAPP model involves employing the poor in government programs and projects, such as in public works, shelter and facilities improvement, as well as education, health and nutrition, and ecological management programs.