Poverty Alleviation In The Philippines: A Purposely Ignored Issue?

The poor have no access to land. Despite three generations of agrarian-reform programs, land distribution is still very badly skewed. And those that were awarded lands – under CARP – squandered away their opportunities, due largely to a lack of government guidance and compliance. Once the act was executed, recipients were left to fend for themselves.

The Philippines has a high population growth rate – the 12th highest in the world – and it continues to grow at a rate of 1.89 percent a year. According to the 2010 census results, the nation’s population increased by almost 16 million from the figure found in the 2000 census results. The growth rate has slowed slightly from the previous census, down to 1.89 percent from 2.34 percent. The next census is scheduled for 2015.

To figure out how many people live in the Philippines in 2014, we can look at data provided by the Philippine National Statistics Office. Projecting this data forward, using the 1.89-percent growth rate, gave us a population of 98,734,798 in 2013 and a population of 100,617,630 in 2014.

The economic policies of the past generation (one generation is 30 years) have failed to alleviate mass poverty. Worse, many public policies are actually anti poor; and biased against people in rural areas. The simple reason for this is that public policy is largely made by those who lived in the Imperial Manila.

Poverty Alleviation has always been a campaign promise. Yet, seldom put their money where their mouths should be. Instead, monies that could have made people’s lives better ended up lining their pockets.

The tax system takes, in percentage terms, more from the poor (27 percent on average) than from the rich (18 percent). Tax evasion (mostly by the rich) costs more than P400 billion a year in lost revenues. The post-Marcos administrations had no effective capital-gains tax, and taxes on real property were extremely low and lightly enforced.

Any strategy against poverty requires thinking out of the box. Resettling squatters to farmlands where they can begin the countries assent to industrialization. Removal of squatters in the major urban centers not only allows for the growth of the middle classes, but more importantly alleviates the problem of poverty. The key is providing well planned communities that provide dignified housing – thus humane living conditions, education, medical services, infrastructure for the delivery of basic services, etc.

There is no way for the poor nor the lower middle classes to own their own home in Metro Manila, where the cost of land alone hovers between P 20k/sqm and upwards to P 160k/sqm; and construction cost between P 18k to P 33 k/sqm.

Even the education policy is loaded against the poor. College-entrance examinations, because they use English, favor students from urban homes. The government, thus, subsidizes public universities, such as the University of the Philippines, where enrollment is inexpensive at an average of P24,000 annually for every student, but where most students belong to the upper class.

UNESCO says that we have one of the highest literacy rates in the world because practically everyone speaks English. Well, ask a Pinoy what they just sang in English, and a great majority cannot tell you the context. Children, whether they pass or fail in grade school are promoted to the next level; and that is why only 3 out of 10 graduate from high school. What happens to the 70 % percent…they enter the ranks of the unemployed and the impoverished.

Sourced from: Michael Tomeldon on Facebook


Just a regular "Joe" who decided the rat-race in the states was getting to ridiculous for words, and made the move to the Asian side of life.

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