Economic managers of the previous administration, who took pride in the country’s economic performance despite unending political turbulence, acknowledged that the fruits of growth did not trickle down to the masses. They also acknowledged what many quarters have often pointed out: economic growth could not keep pace with population growth.
Last week a study prepared by the United Nations Development Program projected moderate economic growth of 5.2 percent this year for the Philippines — a slowdown from last year’s 7.3 percent that was pushed up in part by election spending. That 5.2 percent is nothing to sneeze at in this period of soaring food and fuel prices and continuing financial woes for other countries. But the UNDP said economic growth would not translate into development and could increase poverty.
Unveiling the results of the 2011 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the director of UNDP in the Philippines, Renaud Meyer, said fairly stable economic growth in the country for the past decade has failed to make a significant dent in alleviating poverty. He attributed this in part to population growth, and called on the government to “immediately” implement a “rational population management policy.” Renaud also said Philippine economic growth has not been inclusive and, at worst, “increases poverty, benefiting few industries, few regions, and a few sectors of society.”
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