PH won't meet 2015 goals vs poverty, hunger
MANILA -- With only two years to go before the 2015 deadline, the Philippine government's efforts to reduce poverty and hunger might not be enough to attain the poverty and hunger targets set under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In its “Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2013,” the ADB said the Philippines, along with countries such as Bangladesh and India, might fall short of achieving MDG 1, which focuses on halving the proportion of people whose incomes are less than a dollar a day, achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people; and halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
In terms of halving extreme poverty, the Philippines was only able to reduce by 0.7 percentage points the proportion of population living on less than $1.25 a day. This places the country’s achievement of this target under “slow progress,” along with Bangladesh and India.
Data also showed that while the percentage of the extreme poor declined, Bangladesh, India and the Philippines together account for 82 million more poor people living on less than $2 a day. The ADB said this is because their population growth outpaced poverty reduction measured at the $2-a-day poverty line.
Between 1994 and 2009, there were 2.45 million more Filipinos living below $2 a day. In India there were 68.09 million more living under $2 a day between 1994 and 2010, while in Bangladesh, 11.22 million more lived below the poverty line between 1996 and 2010.
“Most economies have achieved the MDG target to reduce extreme poverty. Strong and sustained economic growth has contributed to pulling hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. [Around] 17 of 22 economies with data have attained the goal of halving the percentage of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Based on current trends, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic [Lao PDR] will also meet the target by 2015,” the ADB said.
“However, three economies—Bangladesh, India and the Philippines—are making only slow progress and could fall short of the target unless they intensify efforts to reduce extreme poverty,” it added.
In terms of the employment target, the Philippines has also not been performing well. Data showed that the country’s employment to population ratio barely moved to 60.1 percent in 2011 from 59.3 percent in 1990.
Data also showed that the proportion of employed Filipinos living below $1.25 per day was at 19 percent in 2006, not that far off from the baseline of 26.8 percent in 1991. Own-account workers, or the self-employed, account for 41.2 percent of the population in 2011, barely moving from the 44.9 percent in 1998.
In terms of addressing hunger, the Philippines is also lumped with 10 other countries that are making “slow progress” in meeting the target. These are Azerbaijan, Lao PDR, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Kazakhstan.
Data, likewise, showed that the prevalence of underweight children under 5 years old was still at 20.7 percent in 2008, just a few rungs below the baseline of 29.9 percent in 1990. Further, the proportion of the population receiving below the level of dietary energy consumption was still at 17 percent from 21 percent in 2000 and 24 percent in 1991.
“Seven economies achieved the target and six others are expected to meet it by 2015. Discouragingly, 11 economies are making only slow progress and will likely miss the target unless they ramp up efforts to reduce malnourishment, including heavily populated India, Indonesia and Pakistan, as well as Myanmar and the Philippines. Three economies are making no progress or are regressing,” it added.