Gov't wants poverty rate down to 11% by end of Duterte's term

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The Duterte administration wants to cut the country's poverty rate by half and leave just about a tenth of Filipinos poor by 2022. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — The Duterte administration has set sights on a bolder poverty reduction target, saying just about a tenth of Filipinos would be considered poor by 2022.

In a statement Tuesday, the National Economic and Development Authority said the government is now working to trim the poverty rate to just 11 percent by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's term, lower than the 14 percent goal set in 2016.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said this would mean that poverty incidence will be halved in six years, a first in history.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show 16.6 percent or about 17.6 million Filipinos remained poor, lower than the 23.5 million in 2015.

The original target meant lifting six million Filipinos out of poverty during Duterte's term. Only around 11 million Filipinos would be considered poor if the new target is realized.

READ: 5.9M Filipinos no longer poor in 2018

The PSA set the poverty threshold at ₱10,727 per month on average, which is deemed enough to support a family of five in 2018. Of the amount, monthly food costs were pegged at ₱7,528.

Pernia previously said that the original 14 percent goal would be a "walk in the park" now. The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee, made up of Duterte's economic managers, approved the more ambitious poverty reduction goal.

"The government must continue to generate more quality jobs, increase the income of the poor, reduce the vulnerability of the poor through social programs and financial literacy, and the intensified implementation of the National Program on Population and Family Planning," Pernia said.

"We must remember that we are aiming for comfortable and secure lives for all so we must be more ambitious in terms of poverty targets," he added.

The Cabinet official said sustained economic growth has created job opportunities for the poor, while cash transfers from the government helped families keep up with rising prices.