Feature: Int’l Poverty Eradication Celebration vis-à-vis Philippine Dev’t Plan
In a 2011 survey of the world’s happiest countries by the foreign-based Happy Planet Index, the Philippines was among the 15 happiest nations based on life satisfaction, life expectancy, and ecological footprint. The result shows a positive mindset among the Filipinos, even for those with below to minimum monthly income.
In a study released in February 2011 by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the Philippines ranked fourth in terms of poverty incidence in population among ASEAN countries. The Philippines is behind Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, but better off than Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. The study showed poverty trend in the country during a three-year period (2006-2009).
The study also showed improvement in the subsistence incidence among families -- from 8.7% in 2006 to 7.9% in 2009. One family per 100 was lifted out of food poverty between 2006 and 2009. In terms of poverty incidence among families, there was only aslight reduction during the three-year period – from 21.1% in 2006 to 20.9% in 2009. Subsistence incidence among population improved – from 11.7% in 2006to 10.8% in 2009.
However, a total of 23.1 million of Filipinos are still subsisting on below 2 U. S. dollars per day. This figure is considered among the highest in Southeast Asia.
NSCB Secretary General Romulo A. Virola estimates that the government needs to reduce poverty incidence by 2 percentage points every year to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of slashing poverty incidence by half in 2015.
Poverty has always been a recurrent issue not only in the Philippines but in other developing countries as well. Every civilization has, one way or another, encountered economic problems, poverty included.Poverty could actually inspire a nation to work towards progress. It could also lead a country to turmoil leading to worse economic conditions.
Today is the celebration of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. With the theme “Only a Development That Includes Everyone is Sustainable”, the Filipinos are reminded that collaborative effort of the government, private entities, and the public is the key to eradicating poverty.
In recent times, the government’s poverty reduction programs have seen action as the government aims to have achieved the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan by 2016.
The government’s centerpiece anti-poverty strategy is the Pantawid Para sa Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) also known as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT). The program aims to provide financial assistance to Filipino indigents—the poorest of the poor—while also making sure that the benefeciaries comply with the conditions of the program which require health, education, and family consciousness and responsibility among family members.
The current total number of household-beneficiaries is already around 2.4 million. The government is targeting 4.7 million beneficiaries in 2016. This anti-poverty program has been implemented by the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), with tie-ups with the Department of Health, Department of Education. This strategy is hoped to become an effective means for the poor to improve their quality of living and work towards a sustainable economic upgrade.
The CCT is just among the programs that the government has been implementing to achieve a poverty-free country. Generation of jobs, throught the Department of Labor and Employment, and skills training by the TESDA are also endeavors done hand-in-hand by the Philippine government to make its way toward development.
With an optimistic mindset and a nation which synergizes government efforts, private-enterprise assistance, and public cooperation, the reminder of October 17 being International Day for the Eradication of Poverty becomes not only a once-in-a-year commemoration but an ongoing anti-poverty endeavor that will reap its fruits in due time.