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Poverty in the Philippines: Resource Inequality

Poverty in the Philippines: Resource Inequality

Jan 25, 2012

Poverty in the Philippines: Resource Inequality (Note: This piece is a segment from a larger article "Poverty in the Philippines: A Profile", showcased in Focus-Philippines' upcoming Poverty Policy Review) Natural Resource Distribution and Landholding Inequality

Percent of farms

Year Average Farm Size (ha) Above 10 ha. Above 25 ha. Gini Ratio
1960

3.6

5.5

0.5

0.53

1971

3.5

4.8

0.6

0.54

1980

2.8

3.5

-

0.54

1991

2.2

2.3

0.3

0.57

2002

2.0

1.8

0.2

0.57

Source: Balisacan (2007), Poverty in the Philippines:Causes, Constraints and Opportunities— ADB (2009)             Proportion of Population living as informal settlers, 2006
Year Informal Settlers
1991 2.41
1994 2.81
1997 3.34
2000 3.31
2003 3.69
2006 4.01
Source: National Statistics Office— FIES (2006) Inequality in the Philippines does not only apply to income matters, but equally extends to the processes of asset distribution and differential access to resources. In this respect, the Philippine situation proves even less roseate than under income considerations. Although data is more difficult to come by, what has been found in the inequality of landholdings seems to be indicative of reported experiences in other basic resources such as forests, coastal lands, biodiversity, minerals and freshwater bodies. Between 1960 and 2002, the Gini Ratio of landholdings has steadily risen in the Philippines from 0.53 to 0.57. This signals a gradual deterioration in the inequitable distribution of lands and land-related resources. Over the course of four decades, more land is literally owned by fewer hands. If the state of land holding distribution gives cause for concern, the issue of settlements and shelter tenure likewise proves troubling. As the available data shows, the share of the population as informal settlers has progressively been deteriorating— from 2.41% in 1991 to 4.01% in 2006 in a continual downward swing. Not only has access to land, as a production resource been diminishing throughout the years for most, but also land in the urban and rural domain as a site for settlement and secure shelter have been increasingly less available for Filipino families to dwell on.

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