OPINION

November 2, 2007 at 5:16 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

CUTTING POVERTY BY HALF: “RATED PG” By Ike Señeres

I was shocked to hear the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) statement that the Philippines is assuring the United Nations that it is going to meet its commitment of cutting poverty in this country by half on or before 2015, in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Perhaps in the same way that promises are made to be broken, some of our government officials may think that speeches are just meant to be delivered, without caring whether the promises made in these speeches could be met or not.

I do not know how and where the DFA got the basis for the promise that they made to the UN, knowing that there is no credible source right now of anti- poverty data in the Philippines that would tell us where we stand in this massive undertaking.

Depending on who is counting and who is talking, poverty in this country would range anywhere from 30% to 70%, but I believe that the latter is a more realistic estimate. Assuming for the sake of argument that the poverty rate is only 30% it would still represent about 5 million households out of about 16 million households, based on our estimated population of 80 million.

Cutting poverty by half in eight years means liberating 2.5 million households from the poverty line, based on the lower estimate. How is the government going to do that?

Based on the higher estimate that would mean liberating more than 5 million households and I could not imagine how that could be done.

For the government to be responsible about its promises, it should base its projections on empirical and historical data. Where are these data sets and how could we validate these?

In the same way that promises are meant to be broken, lies are not meant to be eaten. Sad to say, along with poverty comes hunger, a real life and death problem for many of our people.

For more information about public governance, email iseneres@yahoo.com

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