MANILA — A Palace official has urged the media to continue featuring reports that will “raise awareness” on the Duterte administration’s anti-poverty efforts.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, a former television broadcaster, urged the media to continue “to tackle issues on poverty and discuss efforts of the government in decreasing the poverty rate” for the benefit of the poor.
“As with any government program, it is important for the public to be aware and informed of them especially those who are beneficiaries of the programs,” Andanar said in a text message.
“This awareness can only be achieved with the help of the media. It is not recognition per se that we are after, but awareness of the masses, so that they can avail of these initiatives,” he added.
Andanar also thanked the media for recognizing the administration’s efforts to lift the lives of the poor as newsworthy.
“We thank the media for their coverage regarding this information,” the PCOO chief said.
He, meanwhile, expressed hope that the government can achieve its target of improving the lives of more Filipinos by reducing the poverty incidence by 14 percent in the country ahead of its timeline.
“The government’s target back in 2016 was to reduce our poverty incidence from 23 percent to 14 percent at the end of the term in 2022,” Andanar said in Filipino.
“But we can see that it is only 2019, and we are already at 16 percent. So there’s a big possibility that once we calculate the poverty incidence, by next year we can already achieve the 14 percent,” he added.
Last week, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that poverty incidence declined to 16.6 percent from 23.3 percent in 2015.
This translated to 5.9 million Filipinos lifted out of poverty, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
NEDA director-general and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said it is “possible for poverty incidence to further drop to “10 to 12 percent” by 2022.
Pernia’s estimate is slightly lower compared to the current administration’s target to bring it down by 14 percent before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He also emphasized the importance of a continued family planning program as part of efforts to reduce poverty incidence in the country.
The NEDA chief said the Philippines’ poverty incidence would further have gone down had it implemented the family planning methods earlier.
On March 4 this year, the President approved the “full and intensified” implementation of the family planning program in the country to provide women access to effective modern contraceptives and prevent unplanned pregnancies.
A month later, Duterte signed into law the Magna Carta of the Poor (RA 11291) which is meant to uplift the standard of living and quality of life of impoverished Filipinos.
He also signed into law an act institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) on April 17.
The 4Ps is the national poverty reduction strategy and human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition and education aspect of their lives. (PNA)