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Poverty reduction biggest gain of Duterte administration

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More roads are being built under the "Build, Build, Build" program of the Duterte administration. (Facebook)

“Dutertenomics,” the socioeconomic blueprint of the administration through the massive Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, has lifted about six million Filipinos from poverty, statistics showed.

Recent data showed poverty incidence among individuals fell substantially by 6.7 percent to 16.6% in 2018, down from 23.3% in 2015.

Among families, “poverty incidence fell by 5.8% to 12.1% from 17.9% during the same period, liberating 1.1 million families from poverty, from 4.1 million down to three million.”

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said saving Filipinos from the clutches of penury is the most significant among President Rodrigo Duterte’s achievements.

“The number of poor individuals decreased by almost six million from 23.5 million in 2015 to 17.6 million in 2018,” said Salceda, a known economist who also cited the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act as a factor in the reduction of poverty rate.

“The magnitude of poverty reduction is among the biggest since 1986, and more so, it breaks the usual trend where poverty incidence is lower but the number of poor people is higher due to higher population growth in poor families which are typically bigger-sized,” said Salceda, principal author of the TRAIN Law that is the first package of the administration’s economic reforms.

“This performance is so much better than expected given the spike of inflation in the survey period 2018 when inflation peaked at 6.7 percent due to food prices.  It dilutes the claims that TRAIN law, which was implemented January 1, 2018, was regressive and would increase poverty,” said Salceda.

The TRAIN Law has helped fund the Build, Build, Build program, lowered personal income tax and increased the take-home pay of 99% of the country’s 7.5 million individual taxpayers.

“The House of Representatives is committed to legislate reforms needed to attain the goal of a safe and comfortable life for all, single-digit poverty, upper-middle income country and an ‘A’ credit rating,” said Salceda.  “We start by ratifying the 2020 national budget on December 9 and the alcohol/vape tax before the Christmas break.”

The first regular session of the 18th Congress will go on break from 21 December to 19 January 2020.

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