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Poverty in the Philippines: Vulnerability of the Poor

Poverty in the Philippines: Vulnerability of the Poor

Jan 25, 2012

Poverty in the Philippines: Vulnerability of the Poor (Note: This piece is a segment from a larger article "Poverty in the Philippines: A Profile", showcased in Focus-Philippines' upcoming Poverty Policy Review) Percentage of Population Vulnerable to Poverty
Poverty Status Vulnerability Level

2000

2003

2006

Poor
Highly Vulnerable 77.62 74.66 86.52
Relatively Vulnerable 17.97 21.07 11.99
Not Vulnerable 4.41 4.27 1.49
Non Poor
Highly Vulnerable 23.62 19.68 33.15
Relatively Vulnerable 34.04 37.21 39.29
Not Vulnerable 42.34 43.11 27.57
Total
Highly Vulnerable 41.76 36.21 50.70
Relatively Vulnerable 28.64 32.36 30.31
Not Vulnerable 29.60 31.44 18.99
Source: Trends in Household Vulnerability— Albert and Ramos (2010) (Poor) (Nonpoor) Numbers of People Affected and Assisted during Disasters
Number Affected Number Assisted Assistance per Affected Person % of Income of Poor Person
1994-1996 2004-2006 1994-1996 2004-2006 1994-1996 2004-2006 1994-1996 2004-2006
Typhoon 4,092,023 5,928,979 2,221,036 2,992,873 7 16 0.14 0.18
Flooding 829,560 1,864,245 326,826 1,039,266 6 20 0.12 0.22
Monsoon Winds/Waves 2,877 14,381 1,936 10,304 21 83 0.41 0.92
Sea Tragedy 515 906 271 411 2,083 170 39.56 1.88
Tremors/Landslides 6761 7,778 280 7,109 11 977 0.21 10.78
Volcanic Activity 35,872 15,811 28,210 15,811 117 630 2.23 6.95
Others 71,386 1,332 14,748 1,182 0 260 0.00 2.87
Total 5,038,994 7,833,432 2,593,316 4,066,955 8 19 0.15 0.21
Source: Philippines: Critical Development Constraints— ADB (2007) Internally-Displaced Persons from the NPA and MILF conflicts
Year

Insurgent Group

Individuals Displaced

1986

NPA

52,513

1987

NPA

329,829

1988

NPA

307,412

1989

NPA

189,330

1990

NPA

219,654

1991

NPA

173,362

2000

MILF

800,000~

2001

MILF

52,000

2002

MILF

95,000

2003

MILF

438,000~

Source: Philippine Human Development Report (2005), Citizen’s Disaster Response Center, Global IDP Project Beyond the reality of deprivation, the poor have increasingly been recognized as a segment of society that is vulnerable to debilitating shocks and processes. These processes run the gamut from political crises, crime, violence and natural disasters, but the general consequence is that the poor are more uprooted from the daily rhythms of life and livelihoods than other sectors of society. This poses serious repercussions to their means of subsistence and resource-generation. Two of the most notable forms of vulnerability among the poor are vulnerability to the effects of armed conflicts and natural disasters, and the numbers of those displaced by these are colossal— 7.8 million for natural disasters from 2004-2006, and 2.7 million for the NPA and MILF insurgencies as of 2005. These shocks destroy the assets and properties of the poor and nonpoor alike, but as the statistics of assistance efforts make clear, relief goods never reach most of the directly affected (compare 2.6 million versus the 5 million of 1994-1996). The value of assistance received by each person continues to prove wanting— with only an average of P19 going to each affected person in 2004-2006, many nonpoor will be made poor; many poor will be made even poorer. For a long time, concrete means for adequately measuring the vulnerability of the poor have been lacking. More recent studies have sought to overcome these constraints, with telling results. In 2006, for example, 86.52% of the poor were found to be highly vulnerable to shocks and upheavals, whereas only 33.15% of the nonpoor were judged to be analogously so. 27.57% of the nonpoor were also identified to be not vulnerable, in contrast to a measly 1.49% of the poor. One disquieting trend is that the size of those highly vulnerable has been increasing for both the poor and nonpoor alike. From 2000-2006, high vulnerability has risen from the poor from 77.62% to 86.52%. For the nonpoor, the figures have been more modest, but the pattern no less pronounced: 23.62% to 33.15%. Understanding the reasons for these ballooning ratings requires further study.

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