6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

houses of informal settlers
Despite improvements, significant proportion of the Filipino population remained poor over the past two decades. (Photo: UNDP Philippines)

From 1991 to 2003, subsistence and poverty incidence in the Philippines had consistently declined while access to basic social services has generally improved. However, income distribution across regions remains largely unequal, even worse than some of its Asian neighbors.

Moreover, significant proportion of the Filipino population remained poor over the past two decades. In 2006, the poverty incidence among Filipinos slightly increased. And with the aftermath of the food and fuel price hikes (in 2008), global financial and economic crisis (which reached the country in the latter part of 2008) and natural calamities like the destructive typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng (in October 2009), and the El Niño phenomenon (that emerged in the latter part of 2009), further worsening of the poverty situation in the country is expected to carry on.

Because of poverty, the Filipino households’ has less capacity to meet their basic needs. So much so that more than half (56.9%) of the households in the country are still not able to meet the nutritional requirements of their members, despite generally showing improvement from 1993 (69.4%). On the other hand, there had been an improvement in terms of combating malnutrition among children aged five and below from 1990 to 2005, as evidenced by a 10 percent drop in its proportion. However, the reversal of the malnutrition trend among children in 2008, which rose by 1.6 percent, is a cause of concern.

One of the factors contributing to the upsurge in poverty incidence among Filipinos is the lack of gainful employment, especially among vulnerable groups. Labor productivity has been declining in recent years. Up to 2008, the employment-to-population ratio for the productive age group, particularly among women and youth, is showing a downward trend. Though slightly recovering in 2009, the rate of increase has not been adequate. In addition, more than a fifth (22.6%) of the country’s employed population has been living below US$1 per day in 2006, based on the UN MDG Database.

Meanwhile, the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed abroad continued to grow rapidly with the number of OFWs deployed in 2008 totaling 1.23 million, a 14.7 percent increase from the previous year’s rate (1.08 million). While this implies higher net factor income from overseas, there is also a need for the government to address issues like ‘brain drain’ and deskilling of professionals who accepted low-skilled jobs abroad. Other important issues that the government and the Philippine society, as a whole, need to face are concerns about OFWs’ welfare and protection while working outside the country, and the social cost of the diaspora to Filipino families.

Poverty incidence among population (%), 1990-2006

Line Chart

Source: National Statistical Coordination Board as cited in the 2010 Philippine Progress Report on the MDGs

UNDP's work in the Philippines

  • Established home vegetable gardens in Conner, Apayao. Native vegetables and root crops are possible alternative/complement to rice. (Photo: UNDP Philippines)

    Putting food on the table through SAPAT
    vegetable garden

    Like many housewives in the poor province of Apayao in the Philippines, Betty Nadnaden had difficulty putting food on the table for her growing family. Timesmore

  • Using salvaged lumber and other recycled debris from Typhoon Bopha, a villager in the Philippines' Compostela Valley participates in a UNDP programme to rebuild communities while bringing much-needed income. (Photo: RV Mitra/UNDP Philippines)

    After Philippines typhoon, clean-up brings recovery

    “I’m not a carpenter but I hope that these wood scraps that I gather can be used to rebuild the damaged school where my child usedmore

Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption