Poverty and inequality in the Philippines remains a challenge. In the past four decades, the proportion of households living below the official poverty line has declined slowly and unevenly and poverty reduction has been much slower than in neighboring countries such as the People's Republic of China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Economic growth has gone through boom and bust cycles, and recent episodes of moderate economic expansion have had limited impact on the poor. Great inequality across income brackets, regions, and sectors, as well as unmanaged population growth, are considered some of the key factors constraining poverty reduction efforts.
Causes of Poverty
The main causes of poverty in the country include the following:
low to moderate economic growth for the past 40 years;
low growth elasticity of poverty reduction;
weakness in employment generation and the quality of jobs generated; failure to fully develop the agriculture sector;
high inflation during crisis periods;
high levels of population growth;
high and persistent levels of inequality (incomes and assets), which dampen the positive impacts of economic expansion; and recurrent shocks and exposure to risks such as economic crisis, conflicts, natural disasters,and “environmental poverty.”
There are many causes of economic difficulties leading to mass poverty and hunger. One cause could be foreign debts servicing. This means that the Philippines must owe money to the World Bank. More than 60% of the Philippines budget goes to the World Bank. Unequal distribution of land and other resources is another cause that leads to poverty. Out of the whole population, only 20% own and control agricultural lands. Another cause could be under cultivation of agricultural lands. Only 13 million hectares are cultivated. There are about 17 million hectares of land that are not being used.
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