PH a model for emerging economies’ antipoverty efforts
Emerging economies across the globe can learn from the Philippines’ success in providing social safety nets aimed at uplifting the lives of the marginally poor, a senior World Bank official said.
Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, said investing in quality education and providing social protection for the poor stand out among the key policies to address rising inequality in the Asia-Pacific region.
Most poor households rely on labor as their only asset, the official said. This means that making labor more productive through ways, such as quality education and skills training, is crucial for achieving inclusive growth.
“Primary and secondary education systems should increasingly focus on quality teaching and better learning outcomes, by strengthening the autonomy and accountability of educational institutions,” van Trotsenburg said.
“In addition, there remains significant scope to promote wider and more equal access to higher education among the poor,” he added.
He was speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings being held in Cebu this week.
Apec countries, he said, may consider introducing or expanding well-targeted conditional income transfer programs, which provide direct support to those left behind.
Citing the experience of the Philippines, Mexico, Peru and Chile, he said that conditional cash transfer programs can help boost school attendance, preventive health care, and nutrition among the poor and vulnerable, significantly improving their lives.
One of the Aquino administration’s key social welfare projects is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, a conditional cash transfer scheme adopted from the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Under the program, families receive cash for certain conditions such as sending children to school and regular checkups for mothers and infants.
Van Trotsenburg said key features of successful social safety net programs include a rigorous selection of recipients based on geographical and socioeconomic factors, a system of constant monitoring and evaluation to ensure effectiveness, and making cash payments directly to families to decrease overhead and corruption.
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