‘Yolanda’ blows PH off millennium dev’t course
The devastation caused by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” has pushed the Philippines further away from its Millennium Development Goal of reducing the poverty rate to 16.6 percent by 2015, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.
Neda Director General Arsenio Balisacan said that, although the government is now drafting a recovery plan, people who used to be well off could fall below the poverty line because of the impact of the supertyphoon on their sources of income and employment.
“With this disaster, getting there [to a poverty rate of 16.6 percent] has become even more problematic,” Balisacan said in a speech delivered Friday during the annual meeting of the Philippine Economic Society. “The progress of poverty reduction may further slow down.”
One of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to which member-countries of the United Nations have committed, was to cut poverty incidence by half from the level seen in the 1990s.
In the case of the Philippines, the incidence should be half of the 33 percent reported in the 1990s.
Although the Philippine economy performed robustly in the first half of the year, it has yet to significantly reduce the incidence of poverty.
Poverty rate in the country stood at 27.9 percent as of the first semester of 2012, one of the highest in Asia.
Economists said that the economy, which grew 7.6 percent in the first half of this year, was driven mainly by the rising income of the middle class and the rich.
The bulk of the poor, however, remained below the poverty line, they added.
The country needs to spur more investments in education and manufacturing, where more people from the low-income segment may find work.
The government acknowledged that, given the 2012 poverty rate, the goal of reducing the number of poor people by half in the next two years has become more difficult.
But officials said the government would not give up on the goal just yet, and that attaining a 16.6-percent poverty incidence in two years could still be possible.
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