CARDINAL TAGLE TO  GOVT: DON'T FORGET THE POOR; WHERE IS THIS GROWTH GOING?

Ensuring that both the rich and poor benefit from the growing wealth in the Asia Pacific will be the biggest challenge for the region’s leaders. This was the key message at the end of the World Economic Forum on East Asia on Friday, an event which the Philippines was hosting for the first time. More than 700 government and civil society experts from 40 countries converged in Manila for the three-day conference, which government drumbeaters have billed as the country’s “coming-out party.” “First, I think the challenge is how to deal with the fair distribution of wealth,” said Takeshin Niinami, the head of Japanese retail chain Lawson Inc. who cochaired the WEF East Asia.
“This region has been transforming into a second stage of economic growth,” Niinami said. Noting that the region’s emerging middle class would play a key role in ensuring Asia’s continued prosperity, the businessman said governments should invest heavily in their people by educating them better and providing them with better healthcare services. Poverty remains...READ MORE...

ALSO: ON 'PRIEST GETS PORK MANNA' REPORT - STATEMENT OF MSGR. JOSEFINO S. RAMIREZ

This refers to the article written by Nancy C. Carvajal entitled “Priests got pork manna” published on 22 May 2014 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The article alleges that Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles “handed out generous donations to priests and nuns using allocations from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) [as shown by the] digital records of her former finance officer, [Mr. Benhur Luy]. ”The article further states that I received the following from Ms. Napoles: a. P2.5M through a Metrobank check (per entry in the records of Benhur Luy for May 10, 2007); CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Tagle, 2 bishops to ‘Monsi’ defense

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Friday that former Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Josefino “Monsi” Ramirez did nothing wrong when he accepted donations from Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam. “Technically speaking, accepting a donation the source of which you do not know does not make you culpable,” Tagle told reporters in Filipino on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia at Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City. Tagle said, however, that the controversial donation should serve as an “eye-opener” for other priests, who should now be careful in accepting donations to their charities or ministries. Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco and Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani also defended Ramirez on Friday, saying the retired rector of Quiapo Church was born to a well-to-do family and would not ask for money for selfish reasons. Speaking in separate interviews on Church-run Radio Veritas, Ongtioco and Bacani said they believed Ramirez accepted donations from Napoles “in good faith.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Poverty numbers unchanged, survey shows

An estimated 10.4 million Filipino families described themselves as poor, while around 8.5 million families said they were food-poor over the past three months, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). Both numbers are similar to the March figures, considering the survey’s error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.The Second Quarter 2013 Social Weather Report, conducted from June 28 to 30 and first published in BusinessWorld, showed that 49 percent of Filipinos said they were poor, down by three percent from the 52 percent or 10.6 million families in March. It also found that 40 percent said they were food-poor, up from 39 percent or 7.9 million families in the previous quarter. In its survey on self-rated poverty, SWS asked 1,200 household heads nationwide to plot their family on a card with indicators stating “not poor,” “on the line” and “poor.” Self-rated poverty fell the most in the Visayas, at 57 percent, down by eight points from the 65 percent in March. Poverty also fell in Mindanao (from 53 percent in March to 47 percent in June), Metro Manila (from 42 percent to 40 percent) and Luzon outside Metro Manila (from 50 percent to 48 percent), but within the survey’s error margin for area percentages of plus or minus six percentage points.READ MORE...

ALSO: Statement of the DSWD: On the 2012 Poverty Incidence Statistics

[Released on April 24, 2013] In reaction to the latest poverty incidence statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) indicating that poverty has eased a little vis-à-vis in 2006 and 2009, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the DSWD takes this as a challenge to improve its contribution to the national anti-poverty program of the Aquino administration. In the report by NSCB, poverty incidence was estimated at 27.9 percent during the first semester of 2012, comparing this with 28.8 percent poverty incidence in 2006 and 28.6 percent in 2009. “We would like to assure that the DSWD is doing its best to implement programs and projects that will contribute to the poverty alleviation efforts of the government,” Secretary Soliman said. Secretary Soliman cited the Philippine conditional cash transfer (CCT) program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program being implemented by the DSWD, wherein 3,841,992 poor households are now benefitting from the program, as of April 3, 2013. It is implemented in 1,627 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces in 17 regions nationwide. Secretary Soliman, however clarified that the CCT is not the only solution to poverty explaining that it should be converged with other government programs like employment, livelihood, shelter, education, health, and agriculture. “CCT is just one of the government’s anti-poverty programs. The cash grant under the Pantawid Pamilya is like a life buoy (salbabida) to put stability to the situation of the poor, while investment on health and education is being done” Secretary Soliman said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino spotlights ordinary Filipinos at World Economic Forum

President Aquino on Thursday shone the spotlight on ordinary Filipinos, paying them the ultimate tribute for the country’s amazing economic run during his speech at the start of the plenary session of the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA). Aquino said it was the collective effort of his countrymen that brought the Philippines to where it is now—“in the midst of a dramatic turnaround in every sector.” The President also told political and business leaders that achieving inclusive growth—where the benefits of a booming economy could be shared by all—was the “yardstick by which we measure any government undertaking.” “We are intent on… making certain that each and every Filipino enjoys the full dividends of progress,” he said. Offended But while Aquino celebrated the ordinary Filipino in his speech, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung used the occasion to draw the delegates’ attention to his own countrymen whom he claimed were driven to acts of violence because of China’s provocative moves in the South China Sea. As a result, the small Chinese delegation attending the event walked out of the session. A member of the Chinese delegation told the Inquirer that the group was offended by the Vietnamese prime minister’s remarks, particularly when he brought up the territorial dispute during the economic forum. Shortly after Dung’s speech, WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab tried to defuse the situation and declared that the forum “is a neutral organization and we don’t take stands.” “I appeal, on behalf of the World Economic Forum, to all parties to resort to discussions and dialogue to resolve the situation, which has a potential to create a situation we all do not want to have. We are living in a global world, we need global partnerships, we need global peace,” he said. READ REPORT IN FULL...


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Cardinal Tagle to gov’t: Don’t forget the poor; where is growth going?

MANILA, MAY 26, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Ben O. de Vera, Paolo G. Montecillo -


Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Ensuring that both the rich and poor benefit from the growing wealth in the Asia Pacific will be the biggest challenge for the region’s leaders.

This was the key message at the end of the World Economic Forum on East Asia on Friday, an event which the Philippines was hosting for the first time. More than 700 government and civil society experts from 40 countries converged in Manila for the three-day conference, which government drumbeaters have billed as the country’s “coming-out party.”

“First, I think the challenge is how to deal with the fair distribution of wealth,” said Takeshin Niinami, the head of Japanese retail chain Lawson Inc. who cochaired the WEF East Asia.

“This region has been transforming into a second stage of economic growth,” Niinami said.

Noting that the region’s emerging middle class would play a key role in ensuring Asia’s continued prosperity, the businessman said governments should invest heavily in their people by educating them better and providing them with better healthcare services.

Poverty remains

The most senior prelate of the Catholic Church in the Philippines reminded Filipino leaders on Friday that their efforts to further grow the economy would be in vain if poverty is not reduced.

“It’s really worrying that, as it is being said, statistically our economic growth has been high but the poverty level has not dramatically gone down,” said Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, talking to reporters on the sidelines of the WEF meeting Friday.

“So the question is, where is that growth going? There is indeed growth, but the majority of Filipinos are not benefiting,” said Tagle who was a panelist at a session that discussed civic engagement as a way to create an inclusive and peaceful environment in the region.

Inclusive growth

Inclusive growth remains a major problem for the Aquino administration. Despite growing by 7.2 percent in 2013—the fastest in Southeast Asia—unemployment in the Philippines remains high at 7.5 percent as of January.

The country is also falling behind in fulfilling the poverty-reduction targets it has committed under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Under the MDGs that were set in the year 2000, the Philippines committed to cut poverty in half to 16.6 percent by 2015.

Under its midterm Philippine Development Plan, the government has said poverty incidence would be reduced to just around 18 percent.

The Aquino administration has been drumbeating the record economic growth rates being posted over the past few years, including the 7.2-percent expansion of the gross domestic product (GDP) last year. Under the government’s updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the GDP growth is expected to rise further to between 7.5 and 8.5 percent in 2016.

“The most important thing we have to recognize is that the problems of today are completely different from the problems of last week, last month, and last year, and are totally different from the problems next week, next month, and next year,” said WEF cochair and president, Yolanda Kakabadse, World Wildlife Fund International, Switzerland.

“We need to be constantly renovating our way of thinking,” she said.

Asean integration is key

Another key issue facing the region is geopolitical stability, especially as China asserts its territorial claims in the South China Sea. Niinami said the successful integration of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2015 would be key to the region’s stability.

As a single unit, Asean will be able to defend the claims of its individual members against China, he said.

The region’s progress also remains contingent on its ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, which the World Bank in a statement this week said was the biggest challenge Asia faces in the next two decades.

New normal

“(Yolanda) is the new normal” has become a popular saying in the Philippines since the devastating typhoon of November 2013, the World Bank said in a statement on Friday.

The bank said Southeast Asia faces unique climate-related challenges, given its vulnerability to extreme weather and rising sea levels.

“The impact of natural disasters an economic crisis can hurt us at a faster and more destructive pace than ever before,” said Atutoshi Nishida, chairman of Japanese tech firm Toshiba Corp. Nishida was also one of the forum’s co-chairs.

The next WEF on East Asia will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Not real growth

Tagle said the Philippines was not alone in facing the challenge of closing the gap in GDP and per capita growth.
He recalled that when he was invited to the annual WEF conference in Davos, Switzerland, last January, the same problems were being discussed—inequality, growth benefitting a very few, the shrinking middle class.

But he pointed out that, at the end of the day, the impressive economic numbers being touted by the Aquino government must be reflected in the people’s lives.

“We are all agreed, whether it be simple citizens or experts, we are all concerned that this is not real growth,” he said.

Beyond just being baffled as to why many Filipinos remain poor despite the country’s economic rebound, the government and the business sector should focus on “what should be done” to address poverty, Tagle added.

“What are they prepared to do? How should business be done so that growth will not be exclusive, [and] will be more inclusive,” he said.

Drastic reforms

The cardinal said poverty levels can be cut down only if the government introduces drastic reforms.

“Some changes would have to be made, and those changes would demand some decisions not only in policy but also in distribution of the growth,” he said.

The archbishop also expressed concern about the sustainability beyond the Aquino administration of the political, monetary as well as fiscal reforms now being put in place.

Mr. Aquino ends his six-year term in 2016. He is prohibited by constitutional term limits from running for a second term.

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).

STATEMENT OF MSGR. JOSEFINO S. RAMIREZ ON ARTICLE, “Priests Got Pork Manna”, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 22, 2014 1 day ago by Splendor


Msgr. Josefino S. Ramirez of the Archdiocese of Manila


This refers to the article written by Nancy C. Carvajal entitled “Priests got pork manna” published on 22 May 2014 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The article alleges that Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles “handed out generous donations to priests and nuns using allocations from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) [as shown by the] digital records of her former finance officer, [Mr. Benhur Luy].

”The article further states that I received the following from Ms. Napoles:

a. P2.5M through a Metrobank check (per entry in the records of Benhur Luy for May 10, 2007);

b. P434,451 for travel to Europe (per entry for October 16, 2008);

c. P800,000.00 for donations on several occasions;

d. P310,550 for my birthday party;

e. P9,000.00 for “guard of Monsi for Jollibee”; and

f. Stipends totaling P344,000 on several occasions for “priests/nuns, deacons” from 2004 to 2010.

For clarity, please allow me to state the following:

a. The Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation in the service of the Divine Mercy was established by the children of Magdalena Luy Lim in memory of their deceased mother. During her lifetime, Magdalena Luy Lim, a Chinese, was an ardent devotee of the Divine Mercy. She used to help my charities since 2004, most especially the apostolate for China because this is the only way that she can thank the Lord for the gift of her Catholic faith as a Chinese.

b. Before she died, Magalena Luy Lim requested her children to continue helping the apostolate projects of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines and in China, through the Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation.c. Hence, donations were made by the Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation for the various projects of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines and in China.

d. As Coordinator for Divine Mercy, Asia, appointed by the Church. I received the donations of the Foundation as well as from other donors with the sole intention of using the same for the projects of the Divine Mercy.

The donations were received in utmost good faith and without any knowledge as to the source of the funds.Here in below are my comments on the allegations made in the article published by the Inquirer today:Amounts Received Per PDI and Comment of Msgr. Ramirez;

1. PDI: P2.5M through a Metrobank check (per entry in the records of BenhurLuy for May 10, 2007);

Msgr. Ramirez Comment: The amount of P2M, not P2.5M, was donated by Mrs. Napoles to the CARITAS SALVE Savings and Livelihood with Values Education Credit, a micro-finance program under Caritas Manila.

2. PDI: P434,451 for travel to Europe (per entry for October 16, 2008)

Msgr. Ramirez: The amount was donated for my airplane ticket as the Coordinator of the Divine Mercy for Asia, and the plane tickets of 4 Chinese priests representing China to the World Apostolate Congress of Mercy (WACOM) in Rome.

3. PDI: P800,000.00 for donations on several occasions.

Msgr. Ramirez: The amount was spent for the following expenses incurred by 14 batches of Chinese priests and nuns taking Church renewal courses in the Philippinesfrom Dec 2011 – Aug 2013.

a. Food Expenses in the amount of P57,143.00/month for each batch consisting of 20 priests and nuns;

b. Honorarium for Lecturers; and

c. Electricity and Water Expenses.

4. PDI: P310,550 for my birthday party.

Msgr. Ramirez : The Napoles Family hosted a surprised birthday party for me and invited approximately 300 friends and former parishioners as guests. I have no knowledge of the exact amount spent for the said party.

5. PDI: P9,000.00 for “guard of Monsi for Jollibee”.

Msgr. Ramirez: Food/meals from Jollibee were purchased by the host for the drivers of the guests who attended the party. I have no knowledge of the exact amount spent for the said foods/meals for the drivers.

6. PDI: Stipends totaling P344,000 on several occasions for “priests/nuns, deacons” from 2004 to 2010.

Msgr. Ramirez: Since I met Ms. Napoles only in 2007, I can only attest to the fact that from 2007-2010, stipends were given to priests and nuns invited during special occasions, such as office anniversaries, the funeral Mass of Mrs. Magdalena Luy Lim, her death anniversary and other memorable occasions The priests, who were friends of Napoles family, and nuns were invited from various provinces and congregations. They were given stipends for their Charities and transportation.

I hope that I have clarified the matters stated in the article published by the Inquirer.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

(SIGNED)

MONSIGNOR JOSEFINO S. RAMIREZ
Posted in Apologetics, Archdiocese of Manila
Tagged with Archdiocese of Manila, Janet Lim Napoles, Msgr. Josefino S. Ramirez, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tagle, 2 bishops to ‘Monsi’ defense By Ben O. de Vera, Jocelyn R. Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:39 am | Saturday, May 24th, 2014


Quiapo Church. Photo by RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Friday that former Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Josefino “Monsi” Ramirez did nothing wrong when he accepted donations from Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

“Technically speaking, accepting a donation the source of which you do not know does not make you culpable,” Tagle told reporters in Filipino on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia at Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.

Tagle said, however, that the controversial donation should serve as an “eye-opener” for other priests, who should now be careful in accepting donations to their charities or ministries.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco and Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani also defended Ramirez on Friday, saying the retired rector of Quiapo Church was born to a well-to-do family and would not ask for money for selfish reasons.

Speaking in separate interviews on Church-run Radio Veritas, Ongtioco and Bacani said they believed Ramirez accepted donations from Napoles “in good faith.”

Trustworthy

The prelates said many people sought Ramirez’s help because they knew he was trustworthy.

“They know that he does not ask for personal motives. I know that because Cardinal Sin also turned to him for his worthwhile causes,” Bacani said, referring to the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

What is important, Ongtioco said, is that the donations from Napoles were properly used and “with the right intentions.”
Ongtioco said Ramirez presumed that Napoles was “in good faith in giving the donations.”

“Except for those who are known to be corrupt, drug lords and gambling lords, you cannot ask where the donation came from,” Ongtioco said.

Luy’s files

Ramirez’s accepting donations from Napoles became known on Thursday when the Inquirer, serializing the contents of the files of pork barrel scam principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy, reported that the businesswoman gave the priest P2.5 million in May 2007.

Napoles also spent P434,451 for the trips of Ramirez and four Chinese priests to Rome for the World Apostolate Congress of Mercy in October 2008, Luy’s records showed.

‘Utmost good faith’

An entry in Luy’s files showed that Ramirez received donations from Napoles on several occasions, with the total amount coming up to P800,000.

Ramirez, who retired two years ago, issued a statement on Thursday acknowledging the Inquirer report, but explained that he accepted the donations “in utmost good faith and without any knowledge as to the source of the funds.”

He said the May 2007 donation was P2 million, not P2.5 million, which Napoles gave for a microfinance program run by the Caritas Manila charity.

The donations were made by Magdalena Luy Lim Foundation, which Napoles established in memory of her mother, Ramirez said.

He said he accepted the donations “with the sole intention” of using the money for the projects of the Divine Mercy devotion in the Philippines and in China.

Tagle said he believed Ramirez’s explanation.

“As he said, in a way, it was also a revelation to him,” Tagle said.

“The way I heard about it from him, he accepted [the donation] from a friend who happened to be the mother of Janet Napoles, and this Mrs. Lim was a devout Catholic. Msgr. Ramirez used to be the parish priest in Binondo. So there’s a lot of the Chinese community helping,” he said.

“And [according to] his statement, he accepted it in good faith. He seemed to be uncomfortable about asking where the money came from,” he said.

Luy’s records showed that the money used for the donations came from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations that Napoles and the legislators allegedly misused in connivance with corrupt government officials.

Napoles allegedly siphoned off P10 billion from the PDAF into the bank accounts of her fake nongovernment organizations over a period of 10 years.

Not involved

But Tagle said Ramirez was not involved in the irregularity.

“The Church also has laws. But in this case [Ramirez will not be disciplined] unless he himself was involved in the corruption,” Tagle said.

Tagle said he saw no problem with sponsored foreign trips of church workers.

“Some priests go to the Holy Land on pilgrimages. And very often, their trips are paid for by the travel agent who organized the trip. That’s OK,” he said.

Be more careful

Tagle said the Church had no procedures for accepting donations.

“Direct personal donations are rare. Usually, donations are made through the collection box, so we don’t know who gave them,” he said.

“Donations directly given to priests are allowed,” he added.

But after Ramirez’s getting dragged into the pork barrel scandal, Tagle said priests needed to be more careful when accepting donations.

“[This has served as an] eye-opener, you don’t just accept any donations and say thank you,” he said. “It’s not being cynical, but it’s better to be wise and try to find out the source of the donation.”

Tagle said the Church is working out measures to make donations transparent.

Most parishes and religious orders have bodies handling finance, he added.

Not bad bread

Bacani said the Inquirer’s report on Napoles’ donations was “misleading.”

“Those are donations, not bad bread. And the name Napoles before was a good name,” Bacani said.

“Those were donations and nobody said it came from the pork barrel of the lawmakers … he (Ramirez) was friends with Napoles’ mother, who was a good person so if he was being helped out by the daughter of a friend, then that is not something suspicious,” Bacani said.

“Msgr. Ramirez comes from a family of means in Cavite. So those who seek aid, they know that he doesn’t ask for his personal needs but for people who need help,” he added.

Poverty numbers unchanged, survey shows Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:35 am | Tuesday, August 6th, 2013


An estimated 10.4 million Filipino families described themselves as poor, while around 8.5 million families said they were food-poor over the past three months, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations. INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—An estimated 10.4 million Filipino families described themselves as poor, while around 8.5 million families said they were food-poor over the past three months, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Both numbers are similar to the March figures, considering the survey’s error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.

The Second Quarter 2013 Social Weather Report, conducted from June 28 to 30 and first published in BusinessWorld, showed that 49 percent of Filipinos said they were poor, down by three percent from the 52 percent or 10.6 million families in March.

It also found that 40 percent said they were food-poor, up from 39 percent or 7.9 million families in the previous quarter.

In its survey on self-rated poverty, SWS asked 1,200 household heads nationwide to plot their family on a card with indicators stating “not poor,” “on the line” and “poor.”

Self-rated poverty fell the most in the Visayas, at 57 percent, down by eight points from the 65 percent in March.

Poverty also fell in Mindanao (from 53 percent in March to 47 percent in June), Metro Manila (from 42 percent to 40 percent) and Luzon outside Metro Manila (from 50 percent to 48 percent), but within the survey’s error margin for area percentages of plus or minus six percentage points.

For self-rated food poverty, respondents were told to plot their family on a card indicating whether they were “not poor,” “on the line” or “poor” on the basis of their food situation over the past three months.

Self-rated food poverty rose in Luzon outside Metro Manila at 42 percent, up by six points from 36 percent in March.

It fell in Mindanao (from 43 percent in March to 39 percent in June), the Visayas (from 46 percent to 44 percent) and Metro Manila (from 28 percent to 27 percent).

These self-rated food poverty ratings fell within the survey’s error margin for area percentages of plus or minus six percentage points.

Under the Aquino administration, self-rated poverty ratings ranged between 45 percent and 55 percent, which were registered in December 2011 and March 2012, respectively.

Self-rated food poverty ratings hovered between 35 percent and 45 percent, which were recorded in August and March 2012, respectively.

In April, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said the poverty incidence in the country was estimated at 27.9 percent in the first semester of 2012, and was statistically unchanged from the 2006 and 2009 first semester figures of 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively.

The NSCB also estimated the poverty incidence among families at 22.3 percent in the first semester of 2012, and 23.4 percent and 22.9 percent during the same periods in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

The board also put the estimated cost of poverty eradication at P79.7 billion for the first semester of 2012. Inquirer Research

FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL GAZETTE

Statement of the Department of Social Welfare and Development: On the 2012 Poverty Incidence Statistics [Released on April 24, 2013]


The DSWD is making available data on women and poverty for use by government and non-government agenciesVULNERABLE. An woman gathers her belongings as workers (background) demolish her house in Manila. Photo by AFP/Ted Aljibe

In reaction to the latest poverty incidence statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) indicating that poverty has eased a little vis-à-vis in 2006 and 2009, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the DSWD takes this as a challenge to improve its contribution to the national anti-poverty program of the Aquino administration.

In the report by NSCB, poverty incidence was estimated at 27.9 percent during the first semester of 2012, comparing this with 28.8 percent poverty incidence in 2006 and 28.6 percent in 2009.

“We would like to assure that the DSWD is doing its best to implement programs and projects that will contribute to the poverty alleviation efforts of the government,” Secretary Soliman said.

Secretary Soliman cited the Philippine conditional cash transfer (CCT) program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program being implemented by the DSWD, wherein 3,841,992 poor households are now benefitting from the program, as of April 3, 2013. It is implemented in 1,627 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces in 17 regions nationwide.

Secretary Soliman, however clarified that the CCT is not the only solution to poverty explaining that it should be converged with other government programs like employment, livelihood, shelter, education, health, and agriculture. “CCT is just one of the government’s anti-poverty programs. The cash grant under the Pantawid Pamilya is like a life buoy (salbabida) to put stability to the situation of the poor, while investment on health and education is being done” Secretary Soliman said.

Secretary Soliman said that the CCT is a long-term program and is not expected to be able to improve poverty incidence situation this soon.

“It will benefit the next generation by breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. If children are educated and healthy then productivity may be achieved and productivity means income,” Secretary Soliman said.

Secretary Soliman cited some significant gains of the Pantawid Pamilya along improving education, health, and overall condition of the beneficiaries.

Based on the Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program, Impact Evaluation 2012 of The World Bank, Pantawid Pamilya is on track to achieve its objectives of promoting intervention in the health and education of children while providing immediate financial support to poor families. The report lists the following findings comparing enrolment and school attendance between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries:

• In Pantawid barangays, 76 percent of preschoolers are enrolled in daycare, compared to 65 percent in non-Pantawid barangays;

• Among school children at age 6-11, 98 percent of children in Pantawid barangays are enrolled in school, as against 93 percent in non-Pantawid barangays; and

• Children in Pantawid barangays from age 6-14 also have higher school attendance (95-96 percent) as compared to children in non-Pantawid barangays (91 percent).

In health, the study found that:

• 64 percent of pregnant mothers in Pantawid barangays had antenatal care as against 54 percent in non-Pantawid barangays;

• 85 percent of children in Pantawid barangays age 6-14 have undergone deworming as against 80 percent in non-Pantawid barangays;

• 81 percent of children in Pantawid barangays at age 0-5 have taken Vitamin A supplements as against 75 percent in non-Pantawid barangays

Pantawid Pamilya is one of the three core poverty reduction programs of the DSWD. The other two are: the Sustainable Livelihood Program and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), a community-driven development program. These programs were converged since 2011 to achieve greater impact.

Secretary Soliman stressed that the DSWD is now instituting steps to converge these three programs with other government projects to ensure a sustainable empowerment of the people.

dswd.gov.ph

This entry was posted in Briefing Room, Department of Social Welfare and Development. Bookmark the permalink.

Aquino spotlights ordinary Filipinos at World Economic Forum By Christian V. Esguerra, Paolo G. Montecillo 1:02 am | Friday, May 23rd, 2014


DAVOS IN ASIA President Aquino addresses the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City on Thursday. Often called Asia’s equivalent of Davos, the meeting serves as an ideal platform for participants to discuss opportunities for the promotion of greater economic inclusion in East Asia and better decision-making in the face of unpredictable and natural economic disruptions. More than 600 leaders from business, government, civil society and academic institutions from 30 countries are taking part in the gathering. MALACAÑANG PHOTO/RYAN LIM

MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino on Thursday shone the spotlight on ordinary Filipinos, paying them the ultimate tribute for the country’s amazing economic run during his speech at the start of the plenary session of the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA).

Aquino said it was the collective effort of his countrymen that brought the Philippines to where it is now—“in the midst of a dramatic turnaround in every sector.” The President also told political and business leaders that achieving inclusive growth—where the benefits of a booming economy could be shared by all—was the “yardstick by which we measure any government undertaking.”

“We are intent on… making certain that each and every Filipino enjoys the full dividends of progress,” he said.

Offended

But while Aquino celebrated the ordinary Filipino in his speech, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung used the occasion to draw the delegates’ attention to his own countrymen whom he claimed were driven to acts of violence because of China’s provocative moves in the South China Sea.

As a result, the small Chinese delegation attending the event walked out of the session. A member of the Chinese delegation told the Inquirer that the group was offended by the Vietnamese prime minister’s remarks, particularly when he brought up the territorial dispute during the economic forum.

Shortly after Dung’s speech, WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab tried to defuse the situation and declared that the forum “is a neutral organization and we don’t take stands.” “I appeal, on behalf of the World Economic Forum, to all parties to resort to discussions and dialogue to resolve the situation, which has a potential to create a situation we all do not want to have. We are living in a global world, we need global partnerships, we need global peace,” he said.

Solid vote of confidence for PH

During his speech, Aquino highlighted the country’s economic gains under his watch, which, he said, were backed by “the renewed perceptions of the international community.”

The Philippines was easily the star of the so-called “Asia’s Davos,” the country being among the fastest-growing economies in Asia, with a 7.2-percent growth rate last year—all despite calamities such as Super Typhoon Yolanda.

“We are set to build on our momentum and become even more competitive, as our manufacturing sector continues its revival and as we continue to increase our infrastructure spending—more than doubling it, from around P200 billion in 2011 to more than P400 billion in 2014.”

Moving forward, the President said “all signs for the future are pointing upwards,” noting that the Philippines would hit by next year a “demographic sweet spot.” It is characterized by a significant portion of the population joining the labor force while also driving consumption. “We are incredibly poised to take full advantage of the situation, having made strategic investments in education and skills training, which will equip our future workforce with the correct skills to fill the jobs that are and will be created,” he said.

After Aquino addressed the delegates, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took center stage and said that the Philippines’ hosting of the economic forum was a “solid vote of confidence for this country’s economic achievements.”

2-pronged approach

During the session, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told the delegates that the two-pronged approach of the Philippine government in boosting infrastructure would become a global model that other developing countries could emulate.

The two approaches are the public-private partnership (PPP) program, where private enterprises are invited to bid for and invest in public infrastructure projects, and the allocation of consistently increasing national budget to infrastructure.

“We need connections to supply chains. We need to make it easy for tourists to visit and move around the country. We need to make it easier for investors to do business here. All of these require heavy investments in infrastructure and the Aquino administration is doing exactly that,” Purisima said.

The government will increase the budget for infrastructure from 2.9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) last year and 3.1 percent this year, to 5 percent of GDP by 2016, he said.

Also, he said over P1 trillion worth of infrastructure projects under the PPP program were already in the pipeline. PPP’s 57 infra projects According to the PPP Center, there are 57 infrastructure projects under the PPP program that are in various stages of implementation.

So far, contracts have already been awarded for seven PPP projects collectively worth P62.6 billion.

“Soon, one can look at the PPP program of the Aquino administration and say that it has been one of the better [economic development] programs not only in the Philippines but in the world,” Purisima said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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