A RESEARCH group on Tuesday challenged President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to present clear-cut solutions to the worsening problems on poverty and joblessness in the country.

In an interview with Sun.Star, Sonny Africa, research head of Ibon Foundation, said that the government lack clarity in addressing the problems.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

“The novelty of the Aquino presidency is still there but real improvements in the economy are urgently needed,” he said.

A new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Monday said 43 percent of Filipinos wanted “livelihood programs,” while 33 percent batted for “jobs” from the Aquino government.

Government data shows that the number of poor Filipinos ballooned to 27.6 million in 2006 from 25.5 million in 2001 while number of unemployed Filipinos stood at 3.1 million last April.

“The greatest concentration of poverty and lack of livelihoods is among landless farmers. If President Aquino is able to distribute Hacienda Luisita to its farmers, this will send a clear and strong signal that his administration is serious about addressing the country’s serious jobs and livelihood crisis,” said Africa.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier said Aquino will be proposing a P1.757-trillion budget for next year, 14 percent more than in 2010 as the government wants to inject more funds in social services.

Aside from those mentioned, the government said it will continue financing conditional cash transfers for the poor, reforms for good governance and calamity-prone localities.

The proposed 2011 budget will be submitted to Congress anytime this month. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)