Gov't working to bring down '12 poverty levels-A A +A
Thursday, July 19, 2012
MANILA -- The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) hopes that the country would finally ignite the momentum this year of reducing poverty levels with the expansion of government’s investment in social services, respectable economic growth and stable inflation.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that some recent achievements on human resource development could help reduce poverty. “Net enrolment rate in kindergarten, elementary and secondary levels have all increased from 2009 to 2011 while the levels in elementary increased from 88.1 percent in 2009 to 91 percent last year. Also, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program already covered 3.1 million families as of April this year, exceeding the 2012 target of three million” he said.
Balisacan added that the social services will receive a huge share of next year’s budget.
"The government's proposed budget for 2013 is P2.006 trillion, which is 10.5 percent higher than the P1.816-trillion budget this year. Next year, almost a third of the budget will go to social services," he said.
The Secretary said that the proposed P2.006-trillion budget next year was designed so that government's programs will have a significant dent on poverty and development targets will be achieved earlier.
"For example, the target in education is to bring down the classroom gap to zero by next year, instead of by 2015. Teacher and textbook gaps are also aimed to be brought down to zero by next year," Balisacan said.
Balisacan, who is also director general of Neda, also said that when he was still in the academe, one of the development puzzles he often encountered was that poverty reduction in the country has been slow and lagging.
He added that the proportion of poor Filipinos seems to only plateau between 2000 to 2009, when this should have gone down given the continuous economic growth during the period.
"This is why we term this period of 2000 to 2009 as our ‘lost decade’ with respect to poverty reduction. We expect to break this pattern of jobless growth because the economy has been growing respectably over the last three years. We started with 7.6 percent for 2010 and 3.9 percent for 2011. We expect to have a respectable figure for 2012, hopefully within the upper range of our growth assumptions for the year," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 19, 2012.