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Philippines: UN Poverty Target Not Achievable
Source: gulf-times.com
Source Date: Thursday, September 02, 2010
Country: Philippines
Created: Sep 06, 2010

The Philippines yesterday said it would fail to meet its UN development goal on halving poverty levels by 2015 after even more people were added to the ranks of the poor in recent years.

World leaders meeting at a UN summit in 2000 drew up a set of “Millennium Development Goals,” chief of which was halving global poverty by 2015.

For the Philippines, that meant halving poverty levels - defined as living on less than a dollar a day — from 25% of the population in 2000.

“The 12.5% poverty incidence that we ought to be in in 2015, I think, is not a realistic goal,” Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told a news conference.

“I assure you we will not get there.” The last national census in 2006 showed the poverty incidence had worsened to 33% of the population.

Soliman said that slow economic growth since then, as well as scant jobs and many Filipinos going abroad for work, indicated the poverty rate had remained stuck at 33% even as the population grew.

Results of a national census held in May would be known by October, Soliman said.
She said the government was considering setting a more realistic target over the next five years.

However, she stressed the Philippines was on track to meet the other development goals set at the UN’s millennium summit.

These included goals on universal primary school completion, cutting the number of mothers who die in childbirth and reducing the number of children who die before the age of five.
Neeraj Jain, head of the Philippines country office of Asian Development Bank (ADB), praised the government’s efforts to help reduce poverty.

“The government is making a very serious effort, politically a very difficult effort, to reprioritise and transfer fiscal resources to human capital,” he told the news conference, hosted by the Manila-based ADB. The bank has announced a $400mn loan to expand a conditional cash transfer programme for poor families.

Under the programme the poorest families get cash grants of up to $31 monthly on condition they keep all children aged 6-14 in school and regularly send pregnant members to health clinics. AFP
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