Thursday, August 28, 2008

25.4M Filipinos are living below $1.35/day Asian Poverty Line

25.4M Filipinos are living below $1.35/day Asian Poverty Line

"About 25.4 million Filipinos are living below the new benchmark for estimating how many are poor in Asia and the Pacific region, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released Wednesday showed. The new benchmark, called the Asian Poverty Line, is roughly at $1.35 a day. Of the poor among the 16-member countries of ADB—totaling between 843 million to 1,042 million, depending on methods used in computing poverty estimates—the Philippines's 29.5 percent poverty level is better than India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and worse than Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka."

This hardly qualifies for fresh news anymore, as the recent NCSB press release states that

"In terms of poverty incidence among population, out of 100 Filipinos, 33 were poor in 2006, compared to 30 in 2003."

Yet the Philippines continues to grow economically, and has posted a real GDP growth rate of 7.3% in the year 2007, its fastest pace in three decades. Where does all the money go? According to the 2003 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), the richest 20% of the population account for 53% of total national income while the bottom 20% get only 4.63 percent. The income of the richest 10% of households is 21 times that of the poorest 10 percent.

Income inequality is horrendous, but in a democratic country like the Philippines, the rich doesn’t seem to be so keen in spreading out some of the money they have in opulent excess. How they earned that much is another story, but try thinking along the lines of land ownership, labor exploitation, and government corruption.

Now, the simple “pro-choice” solution goes like this: If there are 33 poor Filipinos out of 100, depopulate the country of those 33 poor Filipinos. Presto: Poverty is eradicated.


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