MANILA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines said on Tuesday that it expects to halve the country's poverty rate by 2022 when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ends his single, six-year term.
"This would be the first time in history that the poverty rate will be halved in just six years, a significant contribution and achievement of this administration," said Ernesto Pernia, Philippine Socioeconomic Planning Secretary.
This is in line with the more ambitious target reduction of poverty incidence to 11 percent, from the original 14 percent, by 2022, which was approved in the previous meeting of the Development Budget Coordination Committee.
Statistics show the Philippines' poverty incidence dropped to 16.6 percent in 2018, averaging a reduction of 2.23 percentage points per year, making the previous target achievable by mid 2022.
The decline was also broad-based, as all regions, except in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, recorded a decline in poverty incidence among the population.
The Philippine National Economic and Development Authority attributed the decline in poverty to sustained growth that generated jobs for the poor, increased incomes of the poor that outweighed inflation, the implementation of social programs like conditional and unconditional cash transfers and pensions, population and family planning program, and less extreme weather conditions.
Pernia said the government must continue to generate more quality jobs, increase the income of the poor, reduce the vulnerability of the poor through social programs and financial literacy, and intensify the implementation of the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP).
Moreover, he stressed the need for the NPPFP to be fully funded for the next three years to help further strengthen and broaden its implementation at the local level. "In particular, this will help boost the implementation of sexuality education programs in all schools to reduce teenage pregnancies," he added.
Pernia further said it is important to have programs that will encourage savings to increase people's resilience to disasters and protect against unexpected income losses or expenses.
"We must remember that we are aiming for comfortable and secure lives for all so we must be more ambitious in terms of poverty targets," he added.
"We must unite and work even harder in the next three years as we aim to lift even more Filipinos out of poverty and make good of our promise to leave no one behind," Pernia said.