• ‘Next leader must continue poverty reduction efforts’

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    THE next administration will need good governance to be able to continue the Aquino administration’s poverty reduction efforts, according to officials of several government agencies.

    Last Friday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced that the country’s official poverty incidence has eased to 26.3 percent in the first half of 2015, down from 28.6 percent registered in 2009.

    National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Emmanuel Esguerra said poverty reduction has been fairly broad-based, as improvements in real incomes are becoming more progressive.

    “Per capita income growth for the bottom 30 percent of households, at over 20 percent in 2012-2015, was much faster than the average growth for all households (15.3 percent) and even faster compared to the top 20 percent of households (about 13-percent growth),” Esguerra said.

    Esguerra noted that disasters remain the downside risk of poverty incidence as it threatens the poor, especially in terms of food inflation.

    NEDA noted that three of the most destructive typhoons to enter the country happened over the last four years. Also, the number of typhoons that entered the country in the past four years has increased to 94, a 9.3-percent increase from the number of typhoons that have entered during the previous four years.

    “Damage from these typhoons has tripled to P242.9 billion in 2011-2015 compared to the previous five years,” NEDA said.

    Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, chair of the Economic Development Cluster. said there is a need for the country to stay on track to continue to reduce the ranks of the poor.

    “We must therefore stay the course,” Purisima said.

    Purisima emphasized that there is a need to expand the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to cover transient poor families, who account for 9 percent of the population. Purisima also said that these families are at risk of falling back below the poverty threshold due to illnesses and disasters.

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