1 million families out of poverty under Duterte admin

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
1 million families out of poverty under Duterte admin
Citing latest government data, he revealed that the poverty incidence among families in the country fell to only 16.6 percent in 2018 from 23.3 percent in 2015.
Noel Celis / AFP, File

MANILA, Philippines — Over one million families or about six million Filipino have so far been freed from poverty under the administration of President Duterte, according to Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda.

Citing latest government data, he revealed that the poverty incidence among families in the country fell to only 16.6 percent in 2018 from 23.3 percent in 2015.

Salceda, who chairs the House ways and means committee, said this 5.8 percent drop translated to 1.1 million families or 5.9 million individuals who managed to live above poverty line.

“This is by far the most significant positive news in the first three years of the Duterte administration,” his statement read.

He explained that in 2015, during the previous administration, 4.1 million families or 23.5 million Filipinos were living below the poverty line. After three years under the Duterte administration, the figures significantly dropped to three million families or 17.6 million individuals.

“The magnitudes of poverty reduction are among the biggest since 1986. More so, it breaks the usual trend where poverty incidence is lower but the number of poor people is higher due to higher population growth in poor families which are typically bigger-sized,” Salceda pointed out.

Salceda lauded the administration for this achievement, which he admitted is unexpected considering the spike in inflation rate when it peaked at 6.7 percent last year due to high food prices. 

He argued that the figures disproved fears that the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law would increase poverty level in the country.

Salceda believed that this drop in poverty rate shows that “Dutertenomics is working,” citing as other indicators the increase in infrastructure development from 2.8 percent to 5.2 percent through the Build Build Build program that produced at least two million jobs as well as the tax-to-GDP ratio of 14.7 percent in the first quarter of this year. 

He also cited social investments in health, basic, technical and higher education “which make the growth more inclusive” as he expressed optimism that the country would sustain this trend until 2022 when the Duterte administration ends.

“The poverty trend of 2.23 percent annual reduction in individual poverty indicates that with 16.6 percent in 2018, we can achieve the 2022 target of 14 percent in one year. Put another way, the Philippines will easily exceed its 2022 target,” he explained.

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero said “the significant decrease is the biggest drop ever in the country’s history.”

“In 2015, there were 23 million Filipinos living below the poverty line of P10,727 a month. These Filipinos ate fewer than three meals a day. This year, six million Filipinos out of the previous 23 million are out of the poverty line and are eating full meals a day,” he explained, adding that this indicates that the administration’s anti-poverty campaign is working.

He attributed the six-million reduction in the number of poor Filipinos to the “rapid but continuous growth of our economy,” the administration’s Build Build Build program, the four-year salary increase of government personnel and the conditional cash transfer or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Romero said the 4Ps “is the main weapon the government is using to reduce poverty.”

“Cash assistance is given to 4.5 million poorest-of-the-poor families to improve the health, nutrition and education of children aged up to 18 years and to wean these households out of poverty,” he said. – With Jess Diaz



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