Lifestyle

Pandemic lets four million Filipinos sink intro poverty



Nearly four million people in the Philippines fell into poverty in the first half of 2021 due to lockdown measures induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, which eliminated jobs and reduced domestic demand, Reuters cited government officials as saying in a December 17 report. Poverty incidence in the Philippines rose to 23.7 per cent in the first half of the year from 21.1 per cent in the same period in 2018, the officials said, which translated to 3.9 million more Filipinos living in poverty. It is a setback for the Philippine poverty reduction effort of the past and is back to…

Nearly four million people in the Philippines fell into poverty in the first half of 2021 due to lockdown measures induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, which eliminated jobs and reduced domestic demand, Reuters cited government officials as saying in a December 17 report.

Poverty incidence in the Philippines rose to 23.7 per cent in the first half of the year from 21.1 per cent in the same period in 2018, the officials said, which translated to 3.9 million more Filipinos living in poverty. It is a setback for the Philippine poverty reduction effort of the past and is back to 2015 levels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted our progress. In 2020, people’s income and jobs were significantly affected by stringent quarantines,” economic planning secretary Karl Kendrick Chua told a media briefing, referring to lockdown measures.

Poverty line for a family: $240 per month

The Philippines poverty threshold for a family of five per month in the first six months of 2021 was 12,082 pesos ($240) per month.

The Philippine economy, one of the fastest-growing in Asia before the coronavirus hit, contracted by a record 9.6 per cent last year, as pandemic-induced lockdowns shuttered businesses and crimped household consumption, a key driver of growth.

With 2.84 million Covid-19 cases and over 50,000 deaths, the Philippines has been among the worst hit countries in Asia. But new cases have come off a peak and vaccination rates have risen, allowing for restrictions to be eased.

Situation gradually improving

So, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the situation gradually improves. More businesses have reopened and more people are back at work, with the unemployment rate dipping to 7.4 per cent in October from 8.9 per cent in September, and growth expanding by a faster-than-expected 7.1 per cent in the third quarter.

“With stronger growth in the second half of 2021 as we further relax restrictions and increase the vaccination rate, we can expect poverty incidence to decrease,” Chua said.



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