What is the major cause of poverty in the Philippines?
() - April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Efren Castalone, Metro Manila: Graft and corruption sa lahat ng sangay ng ating pamahalaan at ang hindi pagpaplano ng pamilya ng mga mahihirap ang major cause of poverty.

Edwin Castillo, Tanauan City: Social injustice and ignorance. Nobody is persecuted and jailed for corruption and wrongdoing. The poor need education for the upliftment of their lives. 


Ruben Viray, Antipolo City: Poverty is due to corrupt government officials and their allies. The majority, if not all, and they enrich themselves at the expense of the Filipino taxpayers.

Miguelito Herrera, Cabanatuan City: Too much corruption, especially in the past administration, is the root cause of poverty in the Philippines. In the last 10 years, we witnessed how our leaders actively promoted cheating and stealing.

Francisco Macasanto III, Iligan City: Corruption is the main cause of poverty in our country.

Ruel Bautista, Laguna: Prior to the Marcos dictatorship, we were second to Japan in Asia. Marcos corrupted every sector of society, which we were never able to exorcise from our culture.

Rey Ibalan, Antipolo City: Poverty is the result of corruption perpetrated by greedy politicians and aggravated by a directionless leadership.

Carmela Ramento, Cagayan de Oro City: The overwhelming effects of massive corruption in the public as well as the private sector are the major cause of poverty in the country.

Germi Sison, Cabanatuan City: There are many causes of poverty in the Philippines, but corruption is the mother of all major causes of poverty. Without corruption in the AFP, peace and order could have been in place a long time ago. Without the fertilizer scam, our farmers could have had a better yield. Without corruption, the state could have provided better education to the youth, who could have been a factor in nation-building. Without corruption in the LTO and traffic enforcers, public transport drivers could have been disciplined and earning more. Without corruption, the state could have put up more industries that produce more necessary products and generate more employment and could have checked poverty. Without poverty, people could have been busy with livelihood activities and if they were busy, they could have had fewer children to feed.

Arvin Padual, Quezon City: The major cause of poverty in the Philippines is rampant graft and corruption involving billions of pesos meant for education.

Romeo Villanueva, Quezon City: Nefarious corruption stifles competitiveness. People cheat on taxes knowing that hard-earned tax money is wasted. Patronage politics is also to blame.

Jun Cajucom, Parañaque City: Blame it on endless corruption in critical government positions and offices, where even thieves and cheats get elected.

Ric Vergara, Calamba: The major cause of poverty in this country are our corrupt leaders from the Palace to lowly barangays.

J.R. Mondonedo Jr., Parañaque City: You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the answer to this question. Basically, most politicians are in government to get rich, so that when they finish their term, they become well-off. Second, discipline. Look at every country whose people are disciplined. These are well-developed countries. And third, being dictated by the Catholic Church, the population. That is, poverty exists because of overpopulation and having so many mouths to feed.

Robert Young Jr., San Juan: Corruption in government is the major cause of poverty. If biddings are not rigged, solons wouldn’t be making substantial profits from projects with their pork, billions of military funds wouldn’t end up in the pockets of generals, people who make a mockery of our laws would not be tolerated, officials involved in plunder would be convicted without delay, poverty would be cut by half. The other half can be done by passing the RH bill but no President will pass RH bill because its benefits will be realized in the long term. Meantime, they will be under fire by the Church.

Love of money

Dennis Montealto, Mandaluyong City: Poverty is caused by greed, lack of education, and lack of employment opportunities.

Rene Poder, Manila: We are urged to be poor in spirit, not to be hungry-poor. Love of money is the root of all evil, not well-earned, wisely spent money itself. 

No money, no honey

Jose Fabello Jr., Cagayan de Oro City: The absence of money. Result: Poor. Major cause of poverty? Yes. 

The ruling elite

Jim Veneracion, Naga City: I would say that major cause of poverty in the Philippines is the inequitable distribution of wealth among Filipinos. Only a little over 10 percent control the wealth of the nation. If you were born poor, everything will be stacked against you, that is, lack of education and the opportunity for gainful employment, to keep body and soul together, especially during hard times.

Felix Ramento, USA: Blame it on the ruling class, where the learned and enlightened come from. In our country, those in the upper class are unmoved and rather happy with the status quo, with their firm hold on the government, regardless of standards, as long as their social standing and power are ensured.

Louella Brown, Baguio City: The major cause of poverty in the Philippines is the decades-old wide gap between the rich and the poor, compounded by corruption nowadays. 

Imperial Manila

Joe Nacilla, Las Piñas City: The main cause of poverty in our country is the major development imbalance. Everything is focused on Metro Manila because of our centralized form of government that hasn’t worked to the advantage of the poor. Added to this is our misfortune of having leaders who cannot dismantle imperial Manila and disperse development to the rest of the Philippines. A centralized government makes politics a very lucrative family business. 

Indolence, ignorance

Larry Parroco, Quezon City: 1: Overpopulation; 2. Lack of job opportunities, and 3. The proliferation of Juan Tamads in our midst that rely only on doleouts. Sila yung ayaw magsumikap.

Samuel Dizon, Baguio City: Laziness based on a cultural belief that the government and family are responsible for our care is the reason we are poor.

Richard Decena, Quezon City: Malaking kamangmangan at katamaran, na lahat na lang ay iasa sa gobyerno, ang dahilan ng paghihirap ng ating bansa.

Renato Taylan, Ilocos Norte: Ignorance and laziness, compounded by the greed of the heartless, educated rich, is the major cause of poverty in the country.

Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan: It’s the 3K: Kamangmangan, katamaran at korapsyon.

Romeo Caubat, Masbate: Corruption and the lack of education of our people, plus plain laziness, are the major causes of poverty in our country. 


Rey Onate, Palayan City: The rapid industrialization and marginalization of agriculture is the major cause of poverty in our country. 

Government inefficiency

Alexander Raquepo, Ilocos Sur: The major causes of poverty are overpopulation, corruption, and the seemingly inefficient government support that we have.

Eric Claravall, Metro Manila: There is too much corruption and bureaucracy in the government.

Cris Rivera, Rizal: Our government is to blame. Its willful negligence/failure to cultivate and make use of our natural resources has led us away from the road to prosperity.

Nescel Panes, Passi City, Iloilo: Poverty expands beyond national boundaries. It has become globalized. It travels across borders, without a passport, in the form of migration, terrorism, pollution, drugs, diseases, and political turmoil. I believe that corruption, injustice and the dishonesty of our leaders are the causes of poverty in our country. What will our nation be in the future if this “culture of poverty” continues? Our countrymen are waiting for action from our leaders to address this issue. They must hear the voice of our economically-deprived nation.

Rose Leobrera, Manila: It is our government run like hell by so many corrupt politicians and a very submissive citizenry that just lets things be as they are. 

Too much politics

Rodolfo Talledo, Angeles City: Incompetent leaders spawned by dirty, transactional politics and sponsored by vested interests primarily to protect and enhance their lot.

Pedro Alagano Sr., Vigan City: Too much politics and corruption and all talk, no action remain the cause of poverty in the Philippines.

Dr. Jose Balcanao, Benguet: The major cause of poverty in the Philippines is the lack of political will and sincerity among our public officials to solve the problem, plus the lack of spiritual nourishment in the heart of every self-centered leader or politician. 

Dysfunctional political system

Jesus Mendoza, Pangasinan: Dysfunctional political system that is powerless against warlordism, feudalism, and oligarchy and their abuses are a major cause of poverty. 

Economic woes

Lucas Banzon Madamba, Laguna: Corruption and unemployment are the principal causes of poverty in the Philippines. Corruption and unemployment are a social cancer, affecting the country economically.

Diony Yap, Bacolod City: Lahat ng problema ay may solusyon. Kung may political will ang Presidente, lahat ay magagawan ng paraan. Hindi lang corruption ang major cause of poverty sa Pilipinas. Nandyan ang unemployment, na may kakambal na inflation, and then there’s the Oil Deregulation Law na simulat-sapol ay isa sa matinding dahilan na nagpapahirap sa ating Inang Bayan.

Ella Arenas, Pangasinan: It’s very obvious that the major cause of poverty is economic. If we analyze our country, we can conclude that almost all, if not all, problems, issues, and concerns are rooted on the economy. Everything in our life, especially our basic needs, that we have to satisfy everyday, including the ills of society, are economic in nature. 

Lack of education

J.P. Soliven, Ilocos Sur: It’s education, or to be specific, the lack of it.

Joel Caluag, Bulacan: Lack of education and damaged moral values are the major cause of poverty in our country. 


June Deoferio, Cavite: Unemployment is the major cause of poverty in our country.

Lydia Reyes, Bataan: Lack of job opportunities causes poverty in the Philippines.

Raymar Gurrea, Bacolod City: Population and unemployment. Habang walang trabaho, busy naman ang iba sa paggawa ng bata, thus creating more complications. 

Poverty is a choice

Edwin Chinel Monares, Rizal: While poverty is a result of many factors, the value system of the Filipinos remains to be its major cause. I cannot understand why people would die in hunger when there are a lot of vacant spaces where they can plant. Here, the economically struggling family would have more children than the economically blessed. In slum areas, a lot of parents and children are hooked on vices such as gambling instead of looking for a decent job that can provide them means of sustenance. As the saying goes, life is what you make it, thus, to wallow in poverty is a choice. 

Here’s the formula

Johann Lucas, Quezon City: It’s due to corruption in government, overpopulation, peace and order problem, and the high cost of common goods manipulated by rich people.

C.B. Manalastas, Manila: Uncontrolled population, lack of jobs, and the rising prices of oil products and basic commodities.

Ed Gulmatico, Abu Dhabi: One, the uneven distribution of wealth and resources. With the tiny percentage of super rich Filipino-Chinese/Spanish and political dynasties/families (less than 0.1 percent) holding/controlling the life and death of the majority of destitute Filipinos; 2) Unemployment; 3) Illiteracy; 4) Uncontrolled population growth; 5) Social injustice; 6) Bad governance; 7) Unabated corruption of sitting government and elected officials; 8) Passion for politics and fanaticism for politikos by almost all Filipinos. Need we say more? 

Booming population

Jim Veneracion, Naga City: In my opinion, the major cause of poverty in the Philippines is overpopulation, coupled with corruption. The poor are deprived of billions lost to corruption.

Arlene Go, Manila: The major major cause of poverty? Population. If we are only six million instead of 96 million, we would all be living the good life, not as malnourished, illiterate poor. 

Poor economy

Ishmael Calata, Parañaque City : Let me first dwell on some issues that some blinded advocates of population control have been harping on. Is poverty in the Philippines really due to our ‘uncontrolled’ increase in population? I say no, our birth rate has actually gone down. Check it. What some sectors are pushing as a modern method to control population growth are now archaic, having been in use here for several decades now. They also say poverty is due to the indolence of many Filipinos and I say no again. How can our poor earn money when there is a scarcity of jobs? Poverty is spawned by the poor economy of the country resulting from the anti-economic policies of the government and widespread corruption prevailing in our society. Add to that the neglect of our government leaders to control all sorts of activities, like petty bribery, smuggling, tax evasion, dollar salting, etc. And, with the bad business atmosphere here, the confidence of foreign investors to come or to stay put has become low. And how can this country be prosperous when big business and the wealthy moguls don’t take the risk of getting into industries that will enhance the economic engines of our country?

Colonial mentality

Desuel Pardo, Mandaluyong City: Kayabangan ng mga di nag-iisip na tamad na Pilipino ang pangunahing dahilan sa kahirapan sa Pilipinas. Kinakaya ng mga Pilipino ang ‘di nila kaya pagka’t ibig nila ay ang mga kaya lamang ng mga dayuhan, tulad ng mga makinaryang pinatatakbo ng langis na wala sa Pilipinas. Kung nag-iisip lamang ang mga Pilipino na sa pamamagitan ng tiyaga at sipag at gamitin lamang natin ang mga likas nating kayamanan at lakas ay mabubuhay tayo nang masagana na di aasa sa kunwa ay tulong ng mga mapagsamantalang dayuhan.

Elmo Cruz, Manila: Dr. Jose Rizal pointed out the necessity of education for Filipinos before we could be granted independence. Without education, Filipinos fail to realize that indolence and love of pleasure and extravagance were bringing them into the quagmire of poverty and hunger. Though education in the Philippines improved at the outset of American rule, their Western education brought about colonial mentality and tightly chained them into the bondage of foreign imperialism. Analyzing the major cause of poverty in the Philippines, it’s because we have failed to utilize to the max the best of Filipino talents and industries, supported by our rich natural resources. Look around our neighboring Asian nations. They depend on their own rather than foreign aid and culture. 

OFW culture

Loi Castillo, Davao City: The root cause of poverty in the Philippines is the inability of Filipinos to utilize our God-given natural resources. Filipinos are trained to work overseas and send back their remittances to their families back home. If we utilize our natural resources in an environment-friendly way, most Filipinos will prefer to stay and work closely with their families. Unfortunately, instead of putting up the industries here in the country, the government opt to send our people abroad to work. 

Misplaced priorities

Deo Durante, Camarines Sur: Poverty is the result or the product of a failed management, be it in the family or in the government. In the family, it is the matter of how the family income is spent accordingly. Say, while the income is only P100 a day, that this is short to sustain the needs in the household. Family members should fund sourcing or work hard to have additional income. While the government spends in lavish official travels, junkets, and corruption, the sacrificial lamb are the constituents. So these are the examples on how poverty become an issue, how the family members, or the government sidelight these priority concerns.

Antonio Villanueva, Laguna: The SWS survey on hunger is based on perception but data on booze/cigarette consumption will show if incomes/CCT are wisely spent. 


Al Galang, Metro Manila: The debilitating mindset of every Filipino, be they affluent or lacking, is the main cause of poverty in this country. It is thinking and believing that nothing else can be done for one to prosper and have a good life. It is thinking only of the self and believing only for the self when one has too much of anything and not sharing the ‘extras’ to those who are lacking. It is what we all nurture in our “mind” that causes poverty and not the government or anybody else. What we think, we act, we feel and the rest is a resultant of it. 

Views expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The STAR. The STAR does not knowingly publish false information and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising their right to free expression. The publication also reserves the right to edit contributions to this section as it sees fit.

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