Philippine poverty did not improve despite strong economic growth

The poverty situation in the Philippines did not significantly improve despite of the six-percent economic growth posted from 2003 to 2006, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
PIDS Supervising Research Specialist Danileen Parel noted that the education and infrastructure services in an area are both closely associated with its poverty situation.
Parel said poverty is highly concentrated in rural areas where level and quality of education and infrastructure are very poor.
Her findings showed that about 80 percent of the poor live in rural areas. Meanwhile, the National Capital Region (NCR) has the least number of poor households, which is 0.88 percent in 2003 and 1.18 percent in 2006.
The study also showed that access to electricity among poor households is only 52.73 percent in 2006, while access to potable piped water is 66.37 percent in the same year. It is miniscule compared to 80 percent of the nonpoor households who have access to electricity and piped water.
Parel also described the linkage of poverty and education. Fifty percent of the heads of poor household have no formal education, while almost 40 percent of them finished primary education. Only less than 0.5 percent of the poor have earned a bachelor’s degree.
Showing the linkage of poverty to lack of infrastructure services and basic education, Parel stressed that poor communities, especially in rural areas, must be provided with basic education and infrastructure services so that poverty reduction could be better achieved.
Rural-urban linkages should be strengthened to narrow the large gap between the rural and urban areas. Such linkages would enable rural households to take advantage of urban development like higher access to public goods, and more accessibility to human and physical capital and infrastructure, said Parel.
Parel also suggested more investments in areas where poverty is high. It can be through improving infrastructure services and providing basic education to poor communities.