MANILA -- Eliminating extreme poverty by half in the Philippines come 2015 seemed to be a pipe dream for civil society groups as they revealed sectors are yet to feel the gains of poverty alleviation programs.

According to a report by Social Watch Philippines in 2010, these Filipinos are: mostly in rural areas; a woman or girl; jobless; working but poor, hungry, and vulnerable; mostly in Mindanao; Muslim; or belong to an indigenous peoples' group.

Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, Jr. said the Philippines had a “high probability” of reducing the incidence of extreme poverty by half in 2015, as stipulated in the eight-point Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Based on the country’s commitment on 2000, the Philippines is supposed to cut the proportion of people living on less than one dollar per day (around P43) to 22.7 percent by 2015 from the 45.3 percent recorded in 1991.

Last February, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) puts the country’s poverty level at 26.5 percent in 2009 or 23.1 million people, slightly up from 26.4 percent or 22.2 million posted in 2006 due to the effects of the global financial crisis.

In a previous interview, NSCB Secretary General Romulo Virola said the government must reduce poverty incidence by at least two percentage points to meet the elusive goal. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)