The Philippines could miss its poverty-reduction targets this year if commodity prices continue to rise, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
In the draft Socioeconomic Report (SER) 2017, the Neda said that, while inflation only averaged 3.8 percent in 2017 and could indicate that the poverty rate was lower, the target remains at risk.
The national government aims to cut poverty incidence to 17.3 to 19.3 percent this year, from 21.6 percent in 2015. The latest poverty data will be collected this year through the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES).
“Poverty incidence is yet to be determined; results are expected in early- 2019,” the Neda said. “However, this target may be at risk in 2018, if inflationary pressures are not addressed effectively and immediately.”
Food inflation in 2017 averaged 3.8 percent, which is on the high end of the 2 percent to 4 percent target in 2017 to 2019. In 2016 food inflation was at 2.6 percent.
The other poverty targets for this year also include reducing rural poverty to 25.6 percent, from 29.8 percent in 2015, and cutting the subsistence incidence to 6.8 percent, from 8.1 percent, three years ago.
Meanwhile, in terms of creating jobs, the Neda said the country failed to meet its employment targets last year.
The Neda said the country missed its goal of creating 900,000 to 1.1 million jobs in 2017 by registering a net employment loss of 663,243 jobs.
This also caused the country to miss its unemployment target of 5.1 to 5.4 percent in 2017 by registering an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.
“The national unemployment rate registered 5.7 percent in 2017 versus 5.5 percent in 2016. While the current unemployment rate has improved compared to previous decades, this is behind the 5.1 to 5.4 percent target set in 2017,” the Neda said.
“Employment creation remains a challenge as there were around 663,243 net employment losses in 2017, far from the target of increasing employment by 900,000 to 1.1 million per year,” it added.
The report also stated that the country missed its youth unemployment rate target of 11 percent in 2017 by registering a 14.4-percent increase in youth joblessness.
The Neda said the youth unemployment rate for October 2017 alone increased to 11.9 percent, from 11.6 percent in October 2016.
These targets are part of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2016 to 2022, the country’s medium-term socioeconomic blueprint.
The government monitors the country’s progress in meeting the goals and aspirations laid down in the PDP through the SER.
The SER features the major groundwork laid down in 2017, along with the recommended priority strategies for 2018 and 2019.