The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released the 2015 data on poverty in the Philippines last October 2016. The country has lowered its poverty incidence by 3.6% from 25.2% in 2012 down to 21.6% in 2015. That means that one out of every five Filipinos is poor or roughly 21.9 million Filipinos are living below the poverty line.
For the poverty threshold, a Filipino needs at least a monthly average income of PhP 1,813 to meet the basic food and non-food requirements.
In 2015, the ratio of poverty incidence among families fell from 19.7% in 2012 to 16.5%; making 3.8 million poor Filipino families. A family of 5 needs an average monthly income of at least PhP 9,064 to meet the basic food and non-food requirements. 8.1% of the Filipino population is classified under subsistence incidence (the proportion of families/ individuals with per capita income less than the per capita food).
Poverty incidence is higher than 60% in the provinces of Apayao, Eastern Samar, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao. In Mindanao, apart from Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, the rest of the region’s provinces have indices 60% or lower. In the Visayas, the Western provinces have lower than 30% incidence, while the eastern provinces have lower than 60% incidence. Luzon has the least number of provinces with higher than 30% poverty incidence.
At the Regional level, ARMM remain the poorest region with the highest poverty incidence which ranged from 40-49% in 2006, 2009, and 2012. NCR, CALABARZON, and Central Luzon have the lowest poverty incidence in the country during 2006, 2009, and 2012.
At the provincial level, the provinces with the least poverty incidence are the 4 districts of NCR, Bataan, Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, and Ilocos Norte. The provinces with the highest poverty are Eastern Samar, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Masbate, Northern Samar, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, and Western Samar.
The Philippine Economic Situation
Philippine population keeps on growing year-by-year, making it an estimated 104 Million in December 2016. Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016 was 292.45 billion US dollars (0.47% value in the world economy). The Philippines’ economy grew an annual 6.8% for the full year of 2016, better than the 5.9% recorded in 2015. It is expected to grow between 6.5-7.5% for year 2017.
GDP per capital (2006-2016)
GDP Annual Growth Rate (2008-2016)
The Gross National Product (GNP) in the Philippines increased to 2,494,692 PHP Million in the 4th quarter of 2016 from 2,442,142 PHP Million in the 3rd quarter. The recorded government debt is equivalent to 42.10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016. The Philippine Peso to US Dollar exchange rate is at 50.19.
Unemployment, in the Philippines rose to 6.6% in the 1st quarter of 2017 from 4.7% in the 4th quarter of 2016. The number of unemployed went up to 2.7M from 2.04M in the previous period. The labor force participation rate decreased to 60.7% from a 63.6%. Among employed persons, workers in the services sector made up 57.1%, followed by agriculture sector (25.5%) and industry (17.4%).
Unemployment Rate (2008-2016)
Average wage in the Philippines has gradually increased. From 7995/month in 2010, it increased to 18950 (379 USD) in 2015. Consumer prices rose 3.4% year-on-year in March of 2017, compared to a 3.3% increase in February. Core consumer prices rose 2.9% year-on-year.
Inflation Rate April 2016-January 2017
The central bank of Philippines left its interest rate steady at 3 percent on March 23, 2017. Inflation is expected to remain within the target of 3.0 percent ± 1 percentage point in 2017-2018.
Despite the growth rates in the economy for the past years, unemployment rate is still highest in the Southeast Asian Region. Poverty rates, though falling, has still not reached the target set for the Millennium Development Goals of 2015. The Conditional Cash Transfer or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have been implemented for almost a decade now starting with the Arroyo administration as the main anti-poverty program. However, the present economic condition and the “trickle down economics” seems to be affecting only the surface level. It presents a development paradox that while the economy is growing, income inequality is widening and poverty remains stark especially in the countryside.
The National Strategy for Microfinance
With the goal of further promoting financial inclusion, the Central Bank of the Philippines developed the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion gives specific process and strategies in promoting financial inclusion. Effective financial inclusion, BSP believes, encompasses four broader components as depicted in the diagram above. Inclusive growth implies participation as well as sharing the benefits from the growth process. In this way inclusive growth is both an outcome and a process (Vijay, 2010).
The strategy map indicated below elaborates the components of financial inclusion toward broad-based and inclusive growth. Specifically, it comprises of policy, regulation, supervision, financial education and consumer protection, advocacy programs, and data and measurement.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (2016). Financial Inclusion in the Philippines. Retrieved from http://www.bsp.gov.ph/downloads/Publications/FIDashboard.pdf.
Philippine Statistics Authority. (October 27, 2016). Poverty incidence among Filipinos registered at 21.6% in 2015 – PSA. Press Release. Retrieved from https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/Press%20Release_0.pdf
Philippine Statistics Authority (2016). 2015 Poverty in the Philippines. Infographics. Social Sector Statistics Service (SSSS) Poverty and Human Development Statistics Division (PHDSD). Retrieved from https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015_povstat_FINAL.pdf
Trading Economics (2017). Philippines Economic Indicators. Retrieved from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/philippines/indicators.