On Poverty Reduction, Don’t Fool Us with Your Statistics: Anti-Poverty Group Tells Government
“Don’t fool us with your statistics!” said the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) Philippines. This is said in reaction to the report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority that poverty incidence went down to 24.9% of the population in the first semester of 2013.
According to GCAP Philippines, the change in the figure is due to the different metric used in measuring poverty incidence – from the usual Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) to Annual Poverty and Indicator Survey (APIS). Going by the FIES, the poverty incidence increased in 2006 and has remained high even after three years into the Aquino Administration.
“We challenge the government to come clean to the public in trying to maneuver the statistics on poverty. We believe that changing the method is highly questionable”, asserted by the GCAP. Nevertheless, no matter what method is used—APIS or FIES—the government has admitted it will not reach the 16.6 percent target of the Millennium Development Goal in poverty eradication.
Currently, the poverty threshold stands at P52 per person per day. According to the government, the poverty threshold is the amount a family or individual needs in order not be considered poor.”Having Php52 is not enough to provide decent living for one person even for a day”, narrated Joy Reyes.
GCAP Philippines is out to challenge the government to be realistic in addressing poverty reduction and avoid hiding the reality under the official poverty statistics that is making matters worse for the genuine poor. GCAP Philippines maintains that economic growth, no matter how high, is meaningless if it does not translate into improved quality of life for the average Filipino.
The government officials need to get out of their air-conditioned offices and feel the pressing issues and experienced everyday by the majority of Filipinos. The poor and marginalised still experience inaccessibility of basic services compounded by privatization of government institutions and rampant corruption.
According to GCAP-Philippines, on housing, the NHA and LGUs still prioritize resettlement designs that are only for rent and not for ownership by the urban poor people resettled. Resettlement areas also need to package basic services including sustainable livelihood options needed for decent living.
Furthermore, recent developments in the Pork Barrel case also reveals more allegations of government officials involved in the corruption case, which unfortunately include a big number of elected and appointed officials.
Amongst all these issues of corruption and privatization, etc., the poor are the most vulnerable, yet usually the most left out in the development processes.
To continue to highlight the burning issues of poverty and inequality, and to commemorate the Urban Poor Uprising held on May 1, 2001, GCAP Philippines will continue its traditional Pre-dawn March of the Poor at the foot of Mendiola Bridge. This is to express their protest and discontent at the current state of affairs of the urban poor sector. This is a symbolic commemoration of the Poor Peoples March during EDSA 3 on May 1, 2001.
The group will assemble at 4am on May 1 in San Sebastian Church. A Candle March of more than 100 urban poor delegates and their allies and sympathizers will proceed to the Chino Roces monument where a Solidarity Flower wreath will be put at the foot of the monument. This gesture is to pay tribute to those who perished during the May 1 March to Malacanang in May 1, 2001. GCAP-Philippines refers to them as ‘the nameless and faceless heroes’ of that historic event.
Egay Buenaventura of Kasama-Pilipinas at 0915-9654804 or Lucia Velarde of SRCC-MPC of North Triangle at 0930-6237670, member-organisations of GCAP Philippines.
GCAP-Philippines is a movement composed of various grassroots and national organisations in the Philippines working in the sectors of education, health, peace-building, housing and land security, agriculture, governance, participation and access to basic social services for women, youth, indigenous peoples, farmers and urban poor, among others. It utilizes various strategies such as media and mobilization demanding and challenging the Philippine government to live up to its promise to the Millennium Development Goals and to protect and promote the rights of Filipinos to have a decent and dignified life. It is also currently engaged in the Post-2015 processes organising consultations and campaigns, linking with national and international networks and participating in various fora to help ensure that the Post-2015 development agenda truly address poverty and inequality.
01 May 2014
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