[PHOTO - A man ties sacks of charcoal onto a cart to deliver them for sale at a nearby market in Manila. Some consumers are turning to charcoal as an alternative for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) due to LPG's rising cost which is expected to breach P1,000. Photo by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters]

MANILA, MARCH 3, 2012 (ABS-CBN) By Cai U. Ordinario, BusinessMirror - For the poorest of the poor to enjoy the life of the richest of the rich in the Philippines, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said the former need to see an 18-fold increase in their income every year.

The NSCB’s latest batch of Sexy Statistics showed that on the average, the top 30-percent income group earns 7 times more than the bottom 30 percent; the top 10-percent income group earns 18 percent more than those belonging to the poorest 10-percent income group.

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr. said the reason for the disparity in incomes is that many Filipinos are still engaged in jobs that are in the informal sector that usually pays lower.

“Sa Pilipinas, maraming trabaho na ordinarily in developed countries would not be thought of as work. Our problem, however, is that many of the employed are working in the informal sector, where the income levels are really quite low. We would like to produce more work in the formal sector,” Paderanga said in a statement.

Paderanga told reporters that because of the low incomes of workers, particularly those in the informal sector, the country’s per-capita income is low. This is also why the country’s underemployment rate increased to 19.3 percent in 2011 from 18.8 percent in 2010.

The Neda chief said this is because the economy is unable to increase the number of formal-sector jobs, which be created by increasing support for small and medium enterprises as well as investments in the country.

Paderanga said creating more formal-sector jobs and increasing investments have been part of agenda of the Aquino administration to reduce poverty and increase the people’s income. Under the Philippines Development Plan (PDP), the Filipinos’ average per-capita income would reach $5,000 after 20 years.

Neda Deputy Director General for Planning Margarita R. Songco earlier said this was within the level of upper-middle-income countries. The Neda said that in 2009, the Philippines’s average per-capita income was $1,790, which classified the country as a lower-middle income country by multilateral banks like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

“We are just trying to bring in full employment in formal jobs. We would like, in a way, to get the share of formal-sector jobs to become a larger part of the reality than those of the informal sector,” Paderanga told reporters.

The NSCB data showed that the average per-capita income of the richest of the rich are in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon and in CAR where the average incomes of the highest income brackets in 2009 were P202,748 and P194,703, respectively.

Data also showed that the richest 10 percent of families in Mimaropa had a per-capita income of P123,781 in 2009, the second lowest after ARMM.

Other regions where the poorest of the rich live are in Region 5 and Region 6 where the average incomes are P131,929 and P136,529, respectively. Income distribution is most unequal in Regions 8, 9, and 10.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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