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Philippine poverty incidence rises in first half of 2014

(The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2015 - 8:00pm

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Fast-rising food prices and the devastating effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) caused an increase in poverty incidence in the Philippines in the first half of 2014, said local authorities today.

The poverty incidence among Filipino individuals and among families increased to 25.8 percent and 20 percent respectively during the period, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.

Economic Planning Secretary, Arsenio M. Balisacan, said per capita income in the first half of 2014 rose by 6.4 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Per capita income increased by 7.3 percent in the lowest 30 percent of income-earners.    "Per capita income data in 2014 show that economic growth has benefited the lower income groups, including the poor. This means that the twin strategies of encouraging investments and production alongside the implementation of a large-scale income redistribution program have worked,"said Balisacan.

However, the country's inflation rate hovered near the higher- end of the inflation target in the first half of 2014. The consumer price index for food went up to 6.5 percent and 2.7 percent for the non-food items in the same period.

These eroded the growth in per capita income of Filipinos.

Rice prices posted a double-digit growth of 11.9 percent in the first semester of 2014 from only 1.7 percent in the same period in 2013, on the back of a tight supply given lean harvests coupled with less imports.  

Higher food prices resulted in a huge increase in poverty thresholds. Food poverty threshold rose by 9.5 percent while overall poverty threshold increased by 9.4 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2014. Ten out of the 17 regions experienced double-digit increases in their poverty thresholds.  

Balisacan also stressed the need of updating budget components of government poverty reduction programs to balance the movement of prices and incomes of the poor.    "The government's social development programs may have provided additional support to temper the rise in poverty but could have contributed more towards reducing poverty had the value of the grants increased with inflation,"he said.

 

ARSENIO M BALISACAN ECONOMIC PLANNING SECRETARY INCOME NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY POVERTY SUPER TYPHOON HAIYAN XINHUA YOLANDA
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