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Philippines income inequality among highest in East Asia – World Bank

Luella Desiderio – Filipino star

November 25, 2022 | 12:00 AM

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Despite its success in reducing poverty, the Philippines has one of the highest income inequalities in East Asia. The World Bank says it can be addressed through policies that build resilience and promote equal access to opportunities.

The World Bank released yesterday’s report, Overcoming Poverty and Inequality in the Philippines: Past, Present and Future Perspectives, which found that the country has made significant progress in reducing poverty, with a poverty rate of 16.7 in 2018. said to have fallen to . In 1985 he was 49.2%.

“By 2018, the middle class had grown to nearly 12 million and the economically secure population had grown to 44 million,” said the multilateral lender.

However, income inequality remains high, with the country’s income Gini coefficient, which measures the distribution of income across the population, at 42.3% in 2018, one of the highest rates of income inequality in East Asia, according to the World Bank. said.

“The richest 1 percent of income earners earn 17 percent of the national income. All of the people in the bottom 50 percent receive only 14 percent in total,” says the World Bank.

The COVID-19 pandemic also reversed the country’s gains in reducing poverty and inequality, with the country’s poverty rate rising to 18.1% last year and unemployment rising in industries requiring in-person work. said that he is

As the Philippines has a long-term vision of realizing a society where no one falls into poverty under AmBisyon Natin 2040, the World Bank believes that reducing inequality and promoting inclusion are essential to the country’s national development. I said yes.

“The Philippines aspires to become a poverty-free middle-class society by 2040, but global experience suggests that no country has managed to achieve this transition while maintaining high levels of inequality. We know,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Brunei Director. , Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand.

“Inequality and low mobility of opportunities across generations wastes human potential and slows down innovation. It is essential for building a thriving economy,” he said.

The World Bank said inequalities in the Philippines start before birth, particularly in maternal nutrition and health during pregnancy, and persist throughout the life cycle.

Differences continue into childhood, where disparities in access to health care, adequate nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation and quality education determine human capital development.

“Inequality shapes later life outcomes, such as employment opportunities and income,” said Nadia Belhaj Hassain Bergis, senior economist at the World Bank. It impacts the amount of help we can provide to get the most out of it.”

To reduce inequality, the World Bank says government policies can center around healing the scars of the pandemic, building resilience, preparing for an inclusive recovery and promoting greater equality of opportunity. said.

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