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PIA Press Release

PGMA: Latest SWS survey solid proof anti-hunger program on right track

Manila (22 January) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cited today the latest SWS survey showing that self-rated poverty incidence in December went down to 46 percent from 52 percent of three months ago as solid proof that the administration's anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs are on the right track.

The December decline in the poverty incidence was the lowest in 20 years.

The President expressed her elation that fewer Filipinos now perceive themselves as poor in her opening statement at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)- National Anti-Poverty Commission-Cabinet Group (NEDA-NAPC-Cabinet) meeting in Malacanang this morning shortly before she left for a seven-day visit to Switzerland and the Middle East.

"I am glad that the self-rated poverty incidence has gone down again, the lowest in 20 years. This is the result of the tough economic reforms we implemented, stability, and increased confidence of the international financial community on the country," the President said in Filipino.

The December survey result was a significant improvement over the June 2004 survey results, then one of the lowest declines in self-rated poverty incidence since 1987.

SWS data showed that the last time self-rated poverty went below 50 percent under the Arroyo administration was in June last year at 47 percent, down from 49 percent in August 2005.

The SWS also noted that self-rated poverty has been on a generally downward trend since mid-2006.

The President admitted, however, that many Filipinos do not yet feel the benefits of the growing economy. Her administration, she added, is now focusing its efforts on ways and means to spread the payback of the economic turnaround among the people, especially the poorest of the poor.

She said she convened the Cabinet today precisely to consult various sectors, including religious groups and other stakeholders, to map out plans to further strengthen the government's anti-poverty programs.

"We assure you, we will listen and act on your concerns," the President said.

The President pointed out that the increased revenue collections would be mobilized to fund livelihood, health, education and housing programs and other government projects for the farming and fisheries sectors.

She also underscored the urgency of national unity and cooperation among the people to sustain the economic growth and ensure the continuous delivery of enhanced socio-economic services to the people amidst the continuing increases of oil prices in the world market and the uncertainties hounding the American economy.

"We assure you we will continue to work harder to sustain the economic growth in spite of the various threats to the international economy," the President added. (OPS) [top]

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