Press Release
January 3, 2010

Year 2010: Year of Poverty Alleviation
Villar: Growth Has Not Trickled Down to the Poor
The 'poor boy from Tondo' wants to end vicious cycle of poverty among Filipinos

Senator Manny Villar expressed disappointment that the Philippines is not only lagging behind its Asian neighbors in terms of economic growth and development, but also has one of the highest numbers of poor people.

"The Philippines has truly become a laggard in many areas. It is bad enough that our economy is not performing as well, but for the country's poor people to increase in number when the rest of our neighbors are successfully overcoming poverty is really hard to accept," said Villar.

A recent study by Asian Development Bank (ADB), 'Poverty in the Philippines: Causes, Constraints, and Opportunities', cited that they Philippines' yearly poverty reduction rate of 0.47 percent between 1990 and 2005 was slower than in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

According to Villar, "The Philippines actually bucked the trend in the region, since it is the only country where the overall number of poor people increased during the 15-year period. It becomes even more imperative for the next president of the country to tackle this glaring problem, which is expected to worsen." The poverty incidence in the country, cited ADB in its report, will still be in the range of 21.1 percent to 28.7 percent by 2020.

Topmost in Villar's presidential platform is the eradication of poverty in the country. "As someone who has experienced poverty first-hand, poverty is truly an issue closest to my heart and providing a lasting solution is a vow that I intend to keep. I want to end to the vicious cycle of the poor Filipinos getting poorer. I have a doable plan to make that happen," said Villar. Intensified job creation, entrepreneurship, and agricultural development are among the key approaches that Villar said would help alleviate poverty in the country.

"Natupad ko na halos lahat ng mga personal kong ambisyon at pangarap. Isa na lamang ang natitira, ito nga ay ang maiahon naman ang sambayanang Pilipino sa kahirapan at pagdurusa. Ang taong 2010 ay magiging makabuluhan para sa laban nating ito--ang paglaban sa kahirapan. Yan ang pinaka-importanteng laban. The fight against poverty is the most important and biggest fight that Filipinos have to win once and for all," said Villar.

Another ADB study, 'Patterns of Inclusive Growth in Developing Asia: Insights from an Enhanced Growth-Poverty, zeroed in on 2003 to 2006', cited that poverty incidence in the Philippines rose by three percent only despite an average of 4.9 percent growth in the economy.

"The poverty statistics can only mean one thing--growth however small is not trickling down to the poor segments of the society. Many factors act as barriers for the poor to benefit, this include bad governance and misplaced government priorities, this is why Nacionalista's platform is centered on poverty alleviation," said Villar.

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