October 05, 2018

MANILA— The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) told a high-level assembly at the United Nations that the Philippines is in the process of adopting the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) in measuring and reporting on poverty.

In her speech at a side event during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie Edillon expressed her ardent support for better poverty data, saying despite government statistics showing real increase in income and decline in poverty rate, there remains discontentment and some people even challenging the integrity of poverty data.

“My own take in all these protestations is that perhaps we are reporting the wrong metric,” Edillon said noting that the MPI serves as an alternative measure of poverty.

Edillon said that the MPI concept and methodology are ready to be presented to the Board of the Philippine Statistics Authority by the fourth quarter of this year.

“Hopefully, the PSA can report periodically on this measure beginning next year,” Edillon said.

MPI captures the multiple deprivations that each person is experiencing, with respect to education, health and living standards. It complements the income-based poverty indicators.

“MPI is more relevant in depicting poverty as it is closer to the concept of a comfortable lifestyle.  It also provides an objective method for identifying beneficiaries of targeted assistance programs,” the NEDA official said citing the government’s use of information on multiple deprivations in the implementation of the conditional cash transfer program of the government.

Apart from adopting MPI, NEDA has also started the pilot survey on the quality of life of Filipinos which is anchored on AmBisyon Natin 2040, the country’s collective long-term vision.

“This will complete the picture of incomes, outcomes, and perception of well-being of individuals and families. This can be analyzed alongside the different contexts of markets, the macroeconomy, the physical environment, and so on. We can perhaps gain a better understanding of what works and what does not,” Edillon said.

Meanwhile, Edillon also addressed the UN delegation in other high-level side events, including a forum on Promoting Quality Infrastructure, as well as a meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.