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RP continues to lag behind poverty reduction target

() - October 9, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government continues to lag behind its target to reduce poverty by the end of 2015, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) said yesterday.

The UNPF also said that the series of natural disasters further threatens development efforts with only six years to go before the deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are eight-time-bound goals aimed at significantly reducing, if not completely eradicating, extreme poverty by 2015.

The UNPF said the Philippines lags behind its targets on eliminating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, reducing maternal deaths and combating HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

“More than one-third of the population are still living on less than $1 a day, over five million children are not in school, 93 newborn babies and 11 mothers are dying everyday, HIV and AIDS cases are growing, with the youth increasingly becoming more vulnerable, and environmental resources are depleting,” said UNPF Representative and UN Advocacy Group chair Suneeta Mukherjee in yesterday’s press conference for the 2009 Stand Up Against Poverty Campaign, which adopted the local theme “Stand United, Fight Poverty.”

For his part, UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC) Deputy Director Minar Pimple said the Philippine government needs “disaster-proofing” of its MDGs or integrating disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies and planning so that it contributes to MDG achievement.

“Efforts to avoid or at least mitigate further losses are a must by all concerned if achievement of the goals by 2015 is to be a realistic proposition. Disaster proofing the MDGs is a need of the hour,” Pimple said.

Former national treasurer Leonor Briones, of Social Watch Philippines, said widespread measures need to be taken to minimize the impacts of recurrent floods, droughts and other hazards that further exacerbate the poverty situation.

“Life has been a calamity for 3.7 million Filipino families with no food, no education, and no health care. The numbers are steadily increasing with the impacts of extreme weather conditions regularly happening nowadays,” Briones said.

Social Watch and UNMC earlier launched the “I Vote for MDG” campaign, which encourages voters to know their candidates in next year’s elections.

It urged voters to support only candidates with the MDGs as their platform of government.

The Stand Up campaign has set Oct. 16, 17 and 18 as its global mobilization of people to demand world leaders to deliver on their promise to end poverty by 2015.

The event will be coupled with a series of activities organized by multi-sectoral groups to be held nationwide during the three-day campaign, such as fund-raising marathons, environmental cleanup, community dialogues and tree planting, among others. – Jose Rodel Clapano

ADVOCACY GROUP DEPUTY DIRECTOR MINAR PIMPLE FIGHT POVERTY I VOTE JOSE RODEL CLAPANO LEONOR BRIONES MILLENNIUM CAMPAIGN MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS POVERTY SOCIAL WATCH SOCIAL WATCH PHILIPPINES
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