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Poverty in Phillipine

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SEARCA Agriculture & Development Discussion Paper Series No. 2007-1

Why Does Poverty Persist in the Philippines? Facts, Fancies, and Policies

Arsenio M. Balisacan


Arsenio M. Balisacan SEARCA College, Los Baños, Laguna Tel/Fax: (63) 495362290 E-mail:

The SEARCA Agriculture and Development Discussion Paper Series aims to disseminate information on current trends or researches to inspire discussion between the author and other stakeholders in the same field of interest. SEARCA encourages readers to directly contact the author through the address provided or join the discussion board for this paper at

DISCLAIMER The point of view taken in this paper is entirely that of the author and does not reflect in any way, SEARCA’s position.



ddresing the widespread poverty problem is the single most important policy challenge facing the Philippines. Not only is poverty high compared with other countries in East Asia, but also its reduction is so slow that the country has become the basket case in the region. Proposals peddled to address the poverty problem are plenty—and keep growing. At one end of the spectrum are proposals contending that the root of the problem is simply the lack of a respectable economic growth. Putting the economy on a high-growth path is prescribed as all that is needed to lick the poverty problem. At the other end are proposals asserting that the poverty problem is nothing but a concrete manifestation of gross economic and social inequities. Redistributing wealth and opportunities is viewed as the key to winning the war on poverty. A variant of such proposals holds that economic growth does not at all benefit the poor. Focusing on...

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