May 30, 2018

Recommendations in a World Bank (WB) assessment on poverty in the Philippines complement strategies in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

On Tuesday, WB held a soft launch of Making Growth Work for the Poor, a poverty assessment for the Philippines for the period 2006-2015 that touches on policies focusing on jobs creation, human development, and poverty and risk reduction.

“The assessment of the World Bank is a good confirmation of what we have been advocating for. Similarly, the PDP 2017-2022 spells out strategies and priorities to lay down a solid foundation for more inclusive growth. The assessment provides us an opportunity to strengthen our collaboration in addressing poverty,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

Tuesday’s launch was a presentation of the WB report and a discussion with government agencies, development partners, civil society organizations, and the academe.

In a panel discussion, Pernia highlighted the need to create gainful and stable employment, and to control inflation.

“These two are top concerns invariably cited by the general public in regular surveys of social research institutions. If we do something about these two, we will have done much of the work of bringing people out of poverty, at least in the short run,” Pernia notes.

He added that, to make growth work for the poor, recommendations and strategies in both the WB’s assessment and the PDP must be pushed, especially with regard to investing in quality education and health services. These include the sustained implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health law that will unburden women of unwanted pregnancies and give them the chance to participate in the labor force.

Pernia also said that revitalizing agriculture is “crucial and long overdue,” and harnessing the potential of the seas, our blue economy, will help our fisherfolk who are among the poorest of the country’s poor.

“This administration’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program is also a way of spatially targeting the poor in different parts of the country, given that the thrust of the program is building infrastructure in the regions,” he added.

Pernia said that infrastructure development will reduce inequality across regions, provinces, and households, and “enhance the economy’s growth potential for inclusive development in the long run.” ​