Palace vows to keep up efforts to reduce poverty
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang vowed on Tuesday to reduce poverty among Filipinos to a “significant level” following a recent poll that showed that fewer Filipinos consider themselves to be poor.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the Social Weather Stations survey conducted last September revealed that 42 percent, or 10.3 million, Filipinos called themselves poor — a three-point decrease from June’s 45 percent, or 11 million families.
“The Palace notes that the survey result is lower than the figure of 45 percent on the same subject last June. Bringing a comfortable life for all, with the objective of reducing poverty at a significant level, is the overarching socio-economic goal of the Duterte administration,” Panelo said in a statement issued on Tuesday night.
He said economic managers would continue to intensify their poverty alleviation programs to lift one million Filipinos out of poverty every year.
“The executive branch will continue to implement medium to long-term programs to alleviate poverty, such as enhancing investments not only in infrastructure to address economic disparities in urban-rural areas but also investing in human capital, including ease of access to education and health, in order to make good the commitment of the President to deliver genuine and meaningful change to our society,” Panelo added.
He made the remarks after the SWS said fewer Filipinos considered themselves poor in the third quarter of 2019.
The poll firm also disclosed that self-rated poverty declined in all geographic areas except in the Visayas, with Metro Manila and Balance Luzon registering the biggest drops at 6 percent.
Panelo acknowledged, however, that “poverty is a concern that cannot be addressed overnight” and that “there is no denying that millions of families remain poor.”
“Accordingly, our economic managers have intensified their efforts and targeted to lift one million Filipinos from poverty every year. To realize this, pertinent departments and agencies have instituted social protection measures, which include rice liberalization and institutionalization of cash transfers, to ensure that no one is left behind as we progress as a nation under the leadership of President Duterte,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the poll results were an indication that the government should continue to step up efforts to address hunger and poverty.
In a statement, Nograles called the data “encouraging as it tells us that government’s anti-poverty initiatives and its efforts to address food poverty are making progress.”
“On the other hand, the statistics also tell us that we have to continue working to ensure that every Filipino family can provide for their own needs, especially food,” he said.
Nograles said the declining inflation in recent months and the low prices of rice as a result of the Rice Tarrification Law, “may have contributed to the improved self-rated poverty and self-rated food poverty numbers.”
Inflation dropped to 0.9 percent in September, while the retail price of regular milled rice dropped to P 34.04 per kilo, Nograles said.
“The net effect of the lower prices of basic commodities like rice is that families are able to purchase more with their income. If the prices of goods are low, then they can purchase more with the monthly budget,” he said.
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