Aquino Legacy: More poor Filipinos in the last 5 years

poor-filipinos

Within its term govt could have laid foundations for Filipino industries to bolster farmers’ and workers’ incomes, create decent-paying, stable jobs

Research group IBON said that the growing number of poor Filipinos in the country today debunks the Aquino administration’s claims that its successful poverty alleviation strategy would be one of its achievements that must be continued by the succeeding administration.

The group delivered its assessment of the Aquino administration’s five years in office in its Birdtalk yesterday at the University of the Philippines School of Economics.

Using an altered methodology based on very low standards resulting in only Php52 as the official poverty line, government statistics counted 23.8 million poor Filipinos in 2012. The Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) in the first semester of 2014 counted 25.8% of the population as poor, higher than the 24.6% poverty level in the same period the year before.

IBON’s May 2015 nationwide survey meanwhile showed a total of 79.6% respondents saying that livelihood did not improve in the recent months. Relatedly, 72.3% of 1,496 respondents said that poverty did not go down in the recent months. Majority of the respondents also rated themselves poor and expressed difficulty in spending for basic needs and social services.

IBON’s May 2015 survey also showed a bigger share of respondents (67.2%) who said that they see their situation today as poor compared to those who said the same in January (64.6%).

These figures are more consistent with IBON estimates using official data that some 55 to 66 million Filipinos live on only Php100-125 per day. This is way below the Php 181 amount needed by a person to live decently.

The Aquino administration’s centerpiece poverty alleviation program was no answer to this deep and widespread poverty, despite its budget ballooning by 526% since 2010 and reaching an accumulated Php178 billion in expenses as of 2014. The conditional cash transfers or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was more than ever proven to be temporary, expensive and shallow. It was criticized for being riddled with loopholes. Among these was having a flawed targeting system that only belatedly included some 218,000 homeless, street-dwellers and calamity survivors as of end-2014.

Confronted with controversies surrounding the CCTs from implementation to monitoring, the Aquino administration admitted that it will take time to solve poverty. IBON however said that if government perceives time as a limitation to eradicate poverty, then it should at least have taken the correct first steps towards this. Within its term it could have given full support to agriculture and laid foundations for Filipino industries to bolster farmers’ and workers’ incomes and create decent-paying, stable jobs. (end)

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