• PH poverty incidence hits 6-year low


    MALACAñANG on Friday said poverty incidence in the Philippines hit its lowest level since 2009, registering 26.3 percent in the first semester of 2015.

    Quoting figures released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Friday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement poverty incidence dropped from 27.9 percent in the corresponding period in 2012.

    Since 2009, he further explained, overall poverty in the country has decreased by 2.3 percent.

    The Palace official was also elated by the drop in the number of families experiencing extreme poverty as measured by the proportion of the population unable to meet their basic food requirements.

    “Likewise, hunger incidence has similarly gone down. According to the Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) Fourth Quarter 2015 Survey, the number of Filipino families experiencing hunger has fallen from 15.7 percent to 11.7 percent in September 2015. In real numbers, this equates to an estimated 900,000 families no longer experiencing involuntary hunger.

    With this figure, the average hunger rate for 2015 stands at 13.4 percent—4.9 points below the 2014 average of 18.3 percent, and the lowest annual rate for the series in 11 years,” Lacierda said.

    “This latest announcement comes on the heels of another positive report from the PSA. Released just last week, the most recent round of the Labor Force Survey indicates that our unemployment rate dropped further from 6.6 percent to 5.8 percent between January 2015 and 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded for all such surveys conducted in January over the past 10 years,” Lacierda explained.

    Led by the services and industry sectors, the official added that total employment grew by 2 percentage points year-on-year, reaching 39.2 million with an estimated 752,000 additional workers.

    “Seen within the context of a momentum that began in 2010, these developments stand as further testaments to the positive impact of good governance. Under Daang Matuwid, our people have gone from success to success, continuously reaping gains in various indicators of quality of life,” stressed Lacierda.

    The Palace official credited these latest developments to the government’s social intervention initiatives, particularly the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

    Under the Aquino Administration, the program has expanded significantly, from covering only 786,523 households in July 2010 to a target of 4.6 million households this year.

    “Initial results of a study have yielded positive news: so far, millions of our chronic poor have been able to cross over the poverty threshold through Pantawid Pamilya. By providing access to better health and education, the program holds enormous promise in granting beneficiaries the wherewithal to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The challenge now is to further empower our people so that the transient poor—those who have crossed over to non-poor status yet remain vulnerable to economic shocks due to disaster and disease—will not again fall beneath the poverty line,” said Lacierda.

    He, however, noted that while the latest poverty figures are encouraging, they present a constant challenge for the government to “further ramp up and scale up efforts toward a future where no one is left behind.”

    “Now that we have made significant headway and are on the cusp of even greater progress, we all the more need a steadfast hand to guide us toward this next level of Daang Matuwid. We trust that our voters will choose the best and most capable leaders for this task, and allow even more generations of our countrymen to achieve the Filipino dream,” Lacierda emphasized.


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