Duterte grassroots movement targets to bring down poverty rate to 14%

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte’s Cabinet Secretary said on Friday, December 8, the grassroots movement Kilusang Pagbabago targets bringing down to 14% the poverty rate in the country by the end of Duterte's term in 2022. 

 

Cabinet Secretary Leonicio “Jun” Evasco Jr said reaching the target would mean the administration is able to bring economic benefits to the ground through this movement. 

Latest poverty rate in the Philippines hovers at 25%, but according to a 3rd Quarter 2017 Social Weather Stations survey, 47% or an estimated 10.9 million Filipino families consider themselves as poor.

“Our target is, with the study of the socioeconomic cluster, that by the end of the Duterte administration, is we bring down poverty rate to 14%,” Evasco said in Cebuano during a press conference here Friday. 

He was in Davao City for a formal launching of the Duterte administration’s Biyaya ng Pagbabago Program scheduled for Saturday, December 9.

The program is his office’s response to the President’s calls for social reforms, which he hopes would translate into a reduction of poverty in the Philippines.

Since 2016 Evasco has been going around the country to prepare Kilusang Pagbabago, which he calls a “mechanism” to bring government services closer to the people.

Previously, multinational lending institutions like the World Bank had called on the Philippines, specifically under former President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, to increase its public spending so its growth becomes inclusive.

“It was found out that the previous administration, the rate of utilization of funds [meant for social services] was only 60%. Meaning to say at the end of the fiscal year, there is 40% unspent funds,” said Evasco.

This is the reason, according to the Cabinet Secretary, he supported President Duterte and went on to launch KP. He also learned from his experience as a mayor in Bohol, where often government services would come in years after they had been requested.

The program is a partnership with 12 government agencies, among them the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Housing and Urban Development Coopration Council, and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

Apart from the 14% key indictator, Evasco said job generation and the opportunities created in the program are part of the parameters by which KP is being measured.

“So it’s not just job [generation], but creation of opportunities where people will get into entrepreneurship,” he said. – Rappler.com