Friday, September 17, 2010

44% of Filipino Children Living In Multiple Dimensions of Poverty

Obviously, this is not good news. A recent study launched September 16, 2010 by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and UNICEF revealed that in 2006, 44% of all Filipino children are living in poverty. This is equal to 12.8 million Filipino children under the age of 15.
Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities in the Philippines

This figure is an  increase by about 4 percentage points from 2003. The study also shows that beyond income-based poverty measure , it involves other various dimensions of poverty such as deprivations in terms of food, shelter, health, education, water, sanitation facilities, electricity and information.

The good news is, the study hopes to emphasize the urgency of actions to promote overall development of children.
Because children are most vulnerable, meeting their needs and helping them achieve their full potential is promoting human development and investing in the progress of mankind,” reiterates Dr. Josef T. Yap, PIDS President.

This study is a wake-up call for all those in the Philippines who care about achieving the MDGs, and reducing poverty for children. We can no longer look at the national picture, and be blind to the millions of children...who are suffering multiple deprivations. UNICEF is keen to support a targeted, focused approach to ensure we achieve MDG1 by lifting these children out of poverty...,” adds Ms. Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF representative
The study showed large disparities across regions in the country where the Visayas, Bicol and CALABARZON regions are found to have the highest concentration of income-poor people. for example, the number of poor children in Bicol is about six-times the number in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). Concentration of poverty is also found in rural areas with 9.2 million of the 12.8 million children living in poverty in 2006.

In the same way, Progress for Children: Achieving the MDGs with Equity, published by UNICEF last week shows that reducing poverty for children (Millennium Development Goal 1) can be reached faster by focusing on the most disadvantaged groups.
This new UNICEF report shows that contrary to traditional thinking that suggested focusing on the poorest was not cost-effective, an equity-focused strategy will yield not only a morally right approach but one that is effective in reducing national poverty rates,” Tobin said.
The key findings of this UNICEF report include:

      · An equity-focused approach improves returns on investment, averting more child and maternal deaths and episodes of stunting than the alternative.
      · Using the equity approach, US $1 million investment in reducing under-five deaths in a low-income, high-mortality country would avert an estimated 60% more deaths than the current approach.
      · Because national burdens of disease, ill health and illiteracy are concentrated in the most impoverished child populations, providing these children with essential services can greatly accelerate progress towards the MDGs and reduce disparities within nations.

Action Points:

PIDS and UNICEF are stressing two major actions based on the key results of their joint child poverty study:

      · There need to be more focused interventions, taking into account the regional disparities and particularly focused on the poorest, most vulnerable children in the Philippines.
      · There should be a well-designed, well-targeted and sustainable social protection system, not just ad hoc temporary assistance, to mitigate the impact of both crises and calamities on the poorest families, especially children.

This may not be good news, but awareness of the poverty situation based on factual statistics and data is a good step in the right direction for finding and acting towards a solution to alleviate the children's conditions.

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