Poverty reduction target achievable – NEDA

September 5, 2010 2:12 am 

MANILA, Sept. 4 — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the poverty reduction target under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 is still achievable.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr. said the country has a high probability of meeting most of the targets, including reducing the number of Filipinos below subsistence threshold, or those whose income cannot provide the basic food requirements.

Paderanga's statement came after Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman said that the government's target to reduce the poverty threshold by half was "unrealistic."

"I assure you we will not get there," Soliman said.

Citing data from the National Statistical Coordination Board, Paderanga said from 24.3 percent in 1991, the percentage of Filipinos living below subsistence threshold was reduced to 14.6 percent in 2006, which is near the 2015 target of 12.15 percent.

But if the total poverty incidence of the population is considered, which includes food and non-food necessities like clothing and shelter, the likelihood of achieving the 2015 target of 22.65 percent is medium, the NSCB report said.

In 2006, the percentage of Filipinos under the poverty threshold was at 32.9 percent.

Paderanga said the country also has high probabilities of meeting the targets on reducing child mortality, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, particularly on eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, reversing the incidence of malaria and tuberculosis, and providing access to sanitary toilet facilities.

However, Paderanga noted that the Philippines continue to lag in several targets, specifically in achieving universal primary education, improving maternal health and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDs.

Paderanga said earlier that the MDGs would be a priority of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2010-2016.

He had instructed the NEDA, which coordinates the crafting of the MTPDP, to ensure the disaggregation of plans and targets up to the regional level. This is to determine where to intensify efforts to achieve the MDGs.

The last MDG progress report in the Philippines was released in 2007, while the first two reports were published in 2003 and 2005.

The MDGs are a set of specific and time-bound development goals committed by the governments to be achieved by 2015, with 1990 data as baseline.

The eight MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality/women empowerment, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing global partnership for development.

The MDGs are based on the United Nations Millennium Declaration endorsed by all 189 United Nations member-states in 2000. (PNA)

RMA/DGA/rsm

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