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Poverty in the Philippines: Government Spending and Scope

Poverty in the Philippines: Government Spending and Scope

Jan 25, 2012

Poverty in the Philippines: Government Spending and Scope (Note: This piece is a segment from a larger article “Poverty in the Philippines: A Profile”, showcased in Focus-Philippines’ upcoming Poverty Policy Review) National Government Social Services and Development Spending (% of  GDP)
Type 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Total NG Expenditures 19.1 19.1 17.8 17.4 17.3 17.4 17.7 18.7 18.1
Infrastructure Expenditures 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.2 1.7 2.1 2.2 2.6 1.9
Total Social Services Expenditure 4.4 3.9 3.5 3.2 3.2 3.4 3.4 3.6 3.9
Health Expenditure 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.5
Education Expenditure 3.3 3.1 2.7 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.5 2.8 3.0
Total Debt Service 4.8 5.2 5.4 5.5 5.1 4.0 3.7 3.6 3.2
Source: Financing the MDG’s and Inclusive Growth in the Time of Fiscal Consolidation— Manasan (2010) Clients Served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, by Region (2007)
Region Number of Families Share of Total (%)
Philippines 18,624,881 100
NCR 2,385,218 12.8
Region I 971,395 5.2
Region II 630,662 3.4
Region III 1,943,640 10.4
Region IV-A 2,272,663 12.2
Region IV-B 561,476 3.0
Region V 1,032,250 5.5
Region VI 1,406,338 7.6
Region VII 1,320,281 7.1
Region VIII 835,257 4.5
Region IX 636,045 3.4
Region X 805,712 4.3
Region XI 851,432 4.6
Region XII 762,516 4.1
CAR 310,599 1.7
ARMM 544,101 2.9
CARAGA 454,301 2.4
Source: National Statistical Coordination Board Even as it commonly believed that poverty can be diminished by means of carefully-crafted and targeted interventions, other indications highlight the divided priorities, and at times, the limited scope of government socioeconomic initiatives. Since 2002 to 2010, the Philippine government has spent more on debt servicing rather than the entire budget for government social services— health and education included. Only in 2010 has the government opted to elevate spending on social services above that of complying with debt obligations— not to speak of infrastructure and other needed expenditures. Unfortunately, this orientation towards budget policies has significantly curtailed the resources which the Philippine government has channelled into human development and poverty reduction. But even if the government were capable of allocating its budget towards social development, there remains the question if the poor would benefit from these expanded resources and services. As data of the clients of the DSWD show, it is once more Filipinos from the more affluent provinces of the Philippines who contain the greater share of the beneficiaries of DSWD’s social programs. While the respective populations of each region has yet to be factored in, this could indicate either difficulties for the DSWD offices to reach the poor in these provinces, or the difficulties of the poor in these provinces from properly accessing the social services programs of the government.

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