Poor will be the center of recovery strategy: NEDA chief

MANILA — The poor will be the focus of the government as the country recovers from the pandemic, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

In a statement for the 2021 first semester poverty statistics report, Chua said the government achieved four years ahead, or in 2018, the 2022 poverty goal of lifting six million Filipinos out of poverty.

He said that while hitting its target early, the government continued to implement reform programs like the social protection program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to further uplift Filipinos’ lives.

“The results of the game-changing reforms are clear. Prior to the pandemic, economic growth averaged 6 percent, inflation averaged 3 percent, and the rates of poverty, unemployment, and unemployment were at record lows,” Chua said.

However, the pandemic hit and this hurt the gains the government achieved early on, he added.

Chua, also the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) chief, said this will be addressed by the strengthened implementation of the programs towards achieving a more inclusive economy.

“We will also improve our social protection programs to support the vulnerable. To this end, we accelerated the implementation of the PhilSys or the national ID (identification) program (to) provide every Filipino with a unique and digitalized proof of identity,” he said.

As of December 10, Chua said 50 million Filipinos have been registered for the national ID program and around 6.7 million were able to open bank accounts.

He said a fully digital ID will allow the government to more efficiently implement social protection programs and directly disburse funds to the beneficiaries.

“We end this year on track to an early recovery. Our growth prospects are encouraging. As we collectively strive towards our 2040 vision, the poor will be at the center of our recovery and development strategy. No one will be left behind,” he added. (PNA)

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