'Moderate poor' should get financial aid too, lawmaker says

Posted at 10/15/11 2:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A party-list lawmaker said the "moderate poor," or those living on $2 to $5 a day according to the World Bank, should also get financial assistance.

In a statement, Ang Kasangga party-list rep. Teodorico Haresco said tapping ODA funding can help the country's second poorest segment.

He noted that those who were hardest hit by recent typhoons "Pedring" and "Quiel" have P39 billion from the government's conditional cash transfer program to help them.

"Access to financial assistance that with the help of ODA's concessional terms, can be lent to them at say 10% interest for four year, would be of great help," said Haresco, who admitted that the government's resources are "already badly overstretched."

Haresco said the country's "moderate poor" is largely comprised of small- and medium-scale enterprise farmers, fisherfolk and traders.

He added that their simple livelihoods comprise a large part of the informal economy, which the Asian Development Bank estimated in 2000 at 43.4% of gross domestic product.

"Something should be done for the next segment, who is no less badly hit," he said.