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Philippines aims to nearly halve poverty by 2015

By Teresa Cerojano

Associated Press


MANILA, Philippines >> The Philippines' top economic official said today the government aims to sustain growth at a rate high enough to nearly halve poverty by 2015.

Nearly 28 percent of the country's 97 million people live below the poverty line and the government's aim is to reduce that to 16.6 percent within the next two years.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government is sticking to its forecast for economic growth of 6-7 percent this year despite the surprising 7.8 percent leap in GDP in the first quarter. He said forecasts need to be conservative because of uncertain economic outlooks for Europe, China and the U.S.

The Philippine economy has grown faster than 7 percent for three straight quarters. It is projected to grow between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent next year and 7-8 percent in 2015. Forecasts for 2016 are being reviewed, but Balisacan said 7-8 percent growth is a "reasonable assumption."

Balisacan said the government would double down on its efforts to lift more Filipinos out of poverty in the remaining three years of President Benigno Aquino III's term. He said officials will focus on creating quality jobs, addressing the backlog in housing, and will continue to run a program that gives cash directly to poor families as long as children stay in school and see a doctor.

Balisacan said infrastructure bottlenecks and the high cost of doing business that have stymied investment will be addressed, with infrastructure spending to be ramped up to 5 percent of gross domestic product by 2016 from 2.5 percent last year.

He cited a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency that shows Manila's traffic gridlock causes economic losses of 2.4 billion pesos ($56 million) a day.

He also said the economy is being diversified from high dependence on consumption and services to one with stronger manufacturing, exports, investments, tourism and more jobs.

Laws that hamper investment, including those governing inter-island shipping, land use and fiscal incentives to business may need to be reviewed to ensure they still make economic sense, he said.

Compared with Indonesia, which attracted nearly $20 billion in foreign investment last year, the Philippines managed only $2.8 billion, not far from $2.2 billion for Myanmar, a pariah state until recently. Thailand wooed more than 22 million visitors last year, the Philippines received 4.3 million.

Balisacan also blamed low foreign investment on the country's past three decades of boom and bust development.

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HD36 wrote:
The Phillipines has probably ecouraged more women to have more kids to qualify for more welfare like the US. The welfare mentality from generation to generation is to have 4 kids out of wedlock before you reach 21 so that you get the maximum amount of welfare and food stamps.
on July 5,2013 | 07:19AM
Mei mei wrote:
hmmm kinda like the people here on the islands... sounds very similar to your assessment.
on July 5,2013 | 09:01AM
jrboi96786 wrote:
How is that helping the poverty? Sounds to like more of it. As far as I'm concern they have no welfare system in the Philippines so please explain what was your sources of your findings or assumptions?
on July 5,2013 | 11:14AM
Bully wrote:
Never happen as long as the Phillipines cannot deal with rampant coruption.
on July 5,2013 | 09:09AM
Cantopop wrote:
Exactly... they make our 1% look like angels.
on July 5,2013 | 09:10AM
jrboi96786 wrote:
You talking about poverty rate in United States... it's about 16%.
on July 5,2013 | 11:38AM
jrboi96786 wrote:
I understand that you assumed that the Philippines will never get out of it unless they fix their corruption problem. They were know of it. But as a matter of fact they did. Corruptions are still happening but the government specially under their current president, the punishment if you get caught is worst than that here in United States. They actually digging through the pass and bringing those who committed to justice and punish them. Since then their corruption ranking has improved dramatically, that is why the Philippines economy is becoming the fastest growing economy in the world. As a matter of fact, they're economy is growing faster this year than China. Yes poverty is still around but that doesn't happen over night. One of the indication that their corruption problem has improved is those investors lining up to invest in the Philippines economy, from European Union, United States, Middle East, Australia and it's fellow Asian countries like South Korea and Japan. Also the credits ratings that dictates how the economy is going like S&P etc. has upgraded the Philippines to investment grade which most country is fearing of losing. Remember, United States was down graded due to economic situations and the European Union banks was down graded further. The Philippines have been making surplus on their tax revenue despite the fact that they haven't yet able to collect 100% of taxes across the country. Education has improved, infrastructures has improved, war in Mindanao has finally over except for those few resistance, Peso has been improving against US Dollar, domestic consumption has sky rocketed. According to the World Bank, Philippines will be the 5th biggest economy in Asia, 16th in the whole world, and 1st in Southeast Asia.
on July 5,2013 | 11:37AM
noheawilli wrote:
Cut poverty in half sounds great but did not LBJ have great society dreams and where has the US gone? Greater debt, increased drug use, breakdown of the family? I'm not declaring cause and effect but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
on July 5,2013 | 10:33AM
false wrote:
The only way that this could possibly happen is if thousand migrate to other countries. I think it would be safe to bet that if this happens Imelda will be president.
on July 5,2013 | 01:02PM
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