THE government has officially adopted a new target poverty rate of 11% by the time it steps down in 2022, from 14% previously, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said, after the more ambitious target was cleared by economic managers.

The adjustment “was approved in the previous meeting of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC),” it said in a statement released yesterday.

The DBCC had its 177th meeting on Dec. 11, during which it slashed economic growth projections and revised some macroeconomic assumptions.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that poverty incidence dropped to 16.6% in 2018 from the revised 23.3% in 2015, the equivalent of 5.9 million Filipinos lifted out of poverty.

This translated to an average of a 2.23 percentage point drop yearly up to 2018, “making the previous target achievable by mid-2022,” NEDA said.

According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, the new target, if realized, will be “the first time in history that the poverty rate will be halved in just six years, a significant contribution and achievement of this administration.”

Mr. Pernia has said that the economic managers will review and adjust the poverty reduction target, which could eventually range between 10% and 12%.

“Inclusive, job-generating growth and better-targeted programs helped increase the incomes of the poor. For those in the bottom 30% of the population, mean per capita income increased by 31.9%, outpacing the income growth of those in the top 20% of households,” Mr. Pernia was quoted as saying.

“The government must continue to generate more quality jobs, increase the income of the poor, reduce the vulnerability of the poor through social programs and financial literacy, and the intensified implementation of the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP),” he added. — Beatrice M. Laforga