MANILA -- Poverty incidence in the Philippines is expected to fall below 20 percent in 2020 and further decline until 2021, a year before President Rodrigo Duterte's term ends, according to the projections made by the World Bank (WB).
The international agency had previously estimated the Philippines' poverty incidence at 23.1 percent in 2017 and 21.9 percent in 2018. In its latest report entitled Macro Poverty Outlook for East Asia and the Pacific the World Bank expects the poverty rate in the Philippines to fall further to 20.8 percent by the end of 2019,declining to 19.8 percent in 2020 and 18.7 percent in 2021. This is almost six points down from the estimated 24.5 percent in 2016.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said the Palace welcomed as "good news" the latest report of World Bank, which "recognizes the strength and resiliency of our domestic economy."
Panelo also thanked Duterte's economic and poverty reduction teams for doing a "splendid job in the past three years in moving the Philippines onwards," despite criticisms hurled against the administration.
"We consider this projection as consistent with the goal of our Philippine Development Plan crafted in 2017 where our economic managers targeted to reduce poverty incidence to 14 percent at the end of the term of President Duterte in 2022. This is equivalent to about six million people that are to be lifted out of poverty," he said in a statement.
The number of Filipinos living below the poverty line fell to 21 percent in the first half of 2018, compared to the 27.6 percent registered in the first half of 2015, based on data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority in April.
The dramatic decline in poverty has emboldened Duterte's promise of reducing poverty incidence to 14 percent by the end of his term.
Panelo said Duterte's office was optimistic that state departments and offices would double their efforts in implementing the government's anti-poverty initiatives.
"While this is proof that genuine and palpable change has indeed come, the Palace expects all officials and employees of relevant departments and agencies to double their efforts as they strive to provide more programs that our countrymen, especially those belonging to the marginalized sector, can beneficially take advantage of," he said. ( With a report from PNA)