Pandemic has pushed millions more into poverty in the Philippines, government says

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Children pray before eating their free meals at a missionary house during a feeding program funded by a South Korean missionary, in a Baseco slum, Tondo city, metro Manila, Philippines January 2, 2018. REUTERS/ Romeo Ranoco

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MANILA, Aug 15 (Reuters) – About 2.3 million people in the Philippines were pushed into poverty between 2018 and 2021, largely due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the statistics agency said on Monday.

The number of people living in poverty in 2021 rose to a total of nearly 20 million, or 18.1 percent of the population, from 16.7 percent in 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said. exceeding the government’s target of 15.5% to 17.5%.

Newly sworn-in President Ferdinand Marcos Jr aims to cut poverty rate to 9% by the end of his single six-year term in 2028 – a goal that remains achievable despite soaring inflation, secretary says to Economic Planning Arsenio Balisacan.

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He said the government’s strategy will focus on fully reopening the economy, investing in human capital and social protection, and transforming production sectors to generate more quality jobs and competitive products. .

“We can reduce the incidence of poverty by 5 percentage points at the midpoint and another 4 percentage points by 2028,” Balisacan said during a press briefing.

The PSA – which defines poverty as including Filipinos whose per capita income is not enough to meet individual basic food and non-food needs – publishes these statistics every three years.

Balisacan said that before the pandemic, in 2018, the country met its goal of lifting 6 million Filipinos out of poverty, four years ahead of the 2022 goal.

But COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and a longstanding problem of poor households with limited access to regular, productive jobs have thrown many Filipinos back into trouble, he said.

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Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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