The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) recently disclosed that there has been no significant improvement to the poverty situation in the country despite the six-percent economic growth posted from 2003 to 2006.
PIDS Supervising Research Specialist Danileen Parel noted that the education and infrastructure services in a particular area are closely associated with the poverty situation of the area. She further added that poverty is highly concentrated in rural areas where level and quality of education and infrastructure are very poor.
According to Parel’s findings, 80 percent of the poor live in rural areas. Research also showed that National Capital Region (NCR) has the least number of poor households, pegged at 0.88 percent in 2003 and 1.18 percent in 2006.
Furthermore, access to electricity among poor households was at 52.73 percent, and access to potable piped water was at 66.37 percent in 2006.
Parel also elaborated on the link between poverty and education, highlighting that fifty percent of the heads of poor household have no formal education, with just under 40 percent of them having gone no further than primary education. Less than 0.5 percent of the poor have a degree st the collegiate level.
Citing the link of poverty to lack of infrastructure services and basic education, Parel emphasized the need for poor communities, especially those in rural areas, to be provided with basic education and infrastructure services in order to reduce and alleviate poverty situations.
Likewise, Parel noted the link between rural and urban areas needs to be strengthened, so as to narrow the large chasm between the two sectors of society. Strengthening these links would enable rural households to take advantage of urban development; among them greater access to public goods, and to human and physical capital and infrastructure.
She also encouraged bigger investments by way of improving infrastructure services and providing basic education to poor communities as a means of eventually reducing poverty in these areas.