08/29/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Almost 26 million poor in the Philippines according to the Asian Development Bank

by Santosh Digal
According to the agency, the poor live on less than US$ 1.35 a day, the new benchmark which takes into account the quality of family purchases and shopping frequency. If the current trend continues, there will be more than 31 million poor in the country.
Manila (AsiaNews) – About 25.4 million Filipinos are living below the Asian Poverty Line (APL) of US$ 1.35 a day which is the new benchmark set by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to measure poverty on the Asian continent.

The APL is based on the ADB's landmark study in the Bank's Key Indicators 2008, an annual statistical publication.

With its poverty level at 29.5 per cent of the population, the Philippines is better off than India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, but worse than Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

In order to evaluate poverty levels, ADB experts did not take into account income levels alone, but also considered where the poor shop, what and how frequent they buy, in what quantity, as well as the quality of the products they purchase.

The report also includes prospects for reducing poverty levels under three scenarios of economic growth over a time span that goes from 2005 to 2020.

If the wealth generated during the 15-year period is distributed equally among the population, the poor in 2020 will reach 24.9 million, or 22.9 per cent of the population.

If the additional wealth is distributed in a more “pro-poor” scenario, then the total number of poor Filipinos will be at 23 million, or 21.1 per cent of the population.

The third scenario—the worst from the poor’s point of view but the most likely to occur in the Philippines—is that economic growth will be “pro-rich,” resulting in 31.2 million poor Filipinos by 2020, with poverty rates at their highest.

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