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11.2M families remain poor; ‘inclusive growth’ still an impossible dream under PNoy

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Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian has scored the administration for its failure to create a trickle-down effect on poor Filipinos amid the economic growth that the country has been experiencing under the leadership of President Noynoy Aquino.

Gatchalian said the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showing that around 11.2 million families remained poor in the last quarter of 2015, while some 7.4 million Filipinos rated themselves food-poor, is proof that the Aquino government has failed to deliver on its promise of inclusive growth.

The Valenzuela City lawmaker maintained that the economic growth of the past five years was not inclusive. Many were left behind by the brisk economic growth of the Philippine economy. The lives of many of Filipinos did not improve in spite of the economic gains.


“Inclusive growth means the poor benefits from the gains that the economy has been posting. But since there is no trickle-down effect from the windfall. Some 11.2 million families or 56 million Filipinos remain poor. And the government could only blame itself for this,” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian said it is high time for a new government that is sensitive to the needs of each and every Filipino. “Panahon na po para sa isang gobyernong may pagkalinga at may tunay na malasakit sa mahihirap. Isang gobyernong may kunsensya at dignidad. Gobyernong gagawin ang lahat para masolusyunan ang suliranin na kinakaharap ng karaniwang Pilipino. Panahon na po para sa isang gobyernong walang pinipili at walang iniiwanan,” he said.

Quality education and accessible education for all Filipinos is the main legislative agenda of Gatchalian if he is elected to the Senate in forthcoming national elections in May this year.

Gatchalian is the author of House Bill No. 5905, also known as the “Free Higher Education Act,” which will fully subsidize tuition fee in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) for all current and future enrollees provided they maintain good academic and moral standing. The measure has already been approved at the committee level.

Based on the Family and Income Expenditure Survey 2012, a household led by a college graduate earns an average family income that is more than twice that of a family headed by one who has only finished high school.

“Ang edukasyon ay karapatan ng lahat ng mamamayan at hindi lang ng iilang mayayaman. Ang edukasyon ay karapatan ng bawat Pilipino na may sipag at tiyaga na mag-aral. Hindi makatarungan na hindi makapag-aral ang mga mahihirap. Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang kahirapan para sa pagpasok ng kolehiyo,” explained Gatchalian.

In its latest survey conducted from December 5 to 8, 2015, the SWS said 50 percent, equivalent to 11.2 million households, felt they are poor as of December. This is the same as the 50 percent (11 million) recorded in the September survey.

The SWS said that while self-rated poverty fell by 19 points in Mindanao to 51 percent in December, bringing the island’s 2015 average to 63 percent, self-rated poverty rose by eight points in Balance Luzon to 46 percent. In Metro Manila, self-rated poverty went up to 37 percent from 32 percent. It also rose five points in the Visayas to 71 percent from 66 percent.

The self-rated poverty thresholds, defined by SWS as home expense budget in order not to be considered poor, was at record-high—P20,000 in Metro Manila, P10,000 in Balance Luzon and in the Visayas and P8,000 in Mindanao.

“The next President should make sure that every Filipino will be afforded the opportunities necessary to partake of the economic gains. Wala dapat maiiwanan sa pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya,” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian said the next administration should strengthen and prioritize programs that address poverty and hunger in the country. “And this should go beyond the dole-out mentality, which was promoted through the Conditional Cash Tranfer (CCT) program.” (R. Burgos)