Take Responsibility for Worsening Poverty, Arroyo Urged

Apr. 04, 2007

MANILA — The clear indictment of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT), which proclaimed the Arroyo government guilty of abandoning the poor due to its economic policies, should now push the administration to urgently address poverty.

According to independent think-tank IBON, one way of doing this is not by telling them to cut down on luxuries, but by at least making sure that the poor can afford basic needs like food.

Estimates show that at least 80% of the population are struggling to survive on the $2 a day international poverty threshold while around 46 million Filipinos do not even meet their 100% dietary energy requirement.

It should not be surprising that millions of Filipinos cannot even afford enough food to remain healthy. Based on the latest IBON survey, 67% of households have difficulty in buying food. Even worse, the inability to meet food needs strikes at the countrys most vulnerable sector, its children. 6.1 million Filipino children are underweight, more than half of them under five years old.

IBON urges the Arroyo government not turn to its back on the millions of Filipinos who bear the crushing weight of poverty everyday. If it is sincere in at least easing the situation of poor Filipinos, then it should immediately implement measures like food price controls, increased allocation for social services and granting the workers legitimate demand for a wage hike. Instead of criticizing the poor, the Arroyo administration should take on hands-on, doable, and urgent poverty programs.

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues. (Ibon Foundation/press release)

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