MANILA – The truth hurts, indeed. According to a study by a think tank of the government, about one out of every three Filipino children is living in poverty.
The study was conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). The group was able to determine that there is an increase in number and severity of Filipino children through the years.
According to PIDS senior research fellow and lead author Celia Reyes, the numbers represent one-third of all Filipino children below 18.
“Being poor, they suffer from deprivations of food, shelter, health and education,” Reyes said.
She added that that 10 million of these children experience at least two types of severe deprivation in terms of basic amenities, while about 750,000 face at least five kinds of deprivation all at the same time.
Also, during the same period, there were about four million children who did not have any access to clean toilet facilities. Meanwhile, another four million did not have access to safe and potable water. Add to that the 260,000 who did not have decent homes.
“There were 1.4 million children living in informal settlements, 6.5 million not having access to electricity in their homes and 3.4 million not having means to access information,” Reyes said.
In terms of education, the main issues are low cohort survival and poor level of achievement.
As a matter of fact, in the last 10 years, students in the elementary and secondary levels did not improve.
“Largely because of poverty, 5.5 million children were forced to work in 2011 to augment family income. These children are unable to pursue their education and this affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future,” the study noted.
The study also revealed that poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon. Three out of four children from income poor families are located in rural areas.
“In the Philippines, despite the country’s recent economic progress, poverty continues to affect millions of families with young children. This is visible in the number of young ones who wander the streets in urban areas, scavenge for resources, or those who, at an early age, are forced to drop out of school to work to supplement their family income,” Reyes said.
The study reflected that the problem is not just because of lack of income or assets, but different factors which include lack of appropriate skills to inability to control fertility and lack of job opportunities.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the top sectors experiencing severe poverty include fisherfolk, farmers, and children.