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Continuity and Change in Philippine Anti-Poverty Paradigms: 1986-2010

Continuity and Change in Philippine Anti-Poverty Paradigms: 1986-2010

Jan 25, 2012

Continuity and Change in Philippine Anti-Poverty Paradigms: 1986-2010

By Jerik Cruz

(Note: This article is a longer version of a piece that will appear on Focus-Philippines’ upcoming Poverty Policy Review)

We know that from the time that humankind first invented the wheel, poverty and inequality have marked nearly all human societies and civilizations. But while the general reality seems indisputable, this has never meant that poverty and inequality has been understood in an unchanging fashion across different communities and histories. In fact, a cursory examination at the Philippine government’s own conceptions of poverty and poverty reduction since 1986 is deeply instructive.

The Aquino Administration: Between Structural Reform and Social Justice?

While it is true that quite a few welfare initiatives have been launched in the Philippines since the nation’s independence from the United States of America, only under the regime of Corazon Aquino was poverty alleviation elevated to a central and explicit governmental imperative. As one well-referenced report of the Asian Development Bank has claimed, only since 1986 has “the overarching objective of the Medium-Term Philippine Plan (MTPDPs)… been poverty reduction.”[1]

But how “poverty” has been understood across the MTPDPs has by no means been identical. True, poverty reduction targets were pegged for the first time in Philippine history in the MTPDP of 1986-1991— yet the anti-poverty framework here was expressly pitted against Marcosian crony capitalism, and conceived in direct allegiance to Structural Adjustment Packages (SAP’s) which were being administered across the country during the time. Indeed, it must be recalled that throughout this period the Philippines was emerging from the most tumultuous period of post-war Philippine history, a period not only marked by the dramatic People Power Revolution of 1986, but also by  the deep economic recession and debt crisis of the early-to-mid 1980’s.

Confronted by the daunting debt burden accumulated throughout the Marcos years, and intimidated by international creditors, the Aquino administration relegated itself to economic stabilization policies propounded by multilateral agencies like the IMF and the World Bank. Poverty, inequality and high unemployment, it maintained, “have been brought about by continued structural inefficiencies in the economy”, such as the unbridled abuse of state power, high tariffs, industrial protectionism and other forms of “economic mismanagement.” Consequently, the principal schemes to redress these “structural” deficiencies would be through the elimination of cronyism, the dismantling of monopolies— but above all, the realignment of government processes around “free and fair competition.”[2]

These early decisions would exert profound repercussions over the government’s anti-poverty approaches in the decades to come. Through SAP’s in import and foreign exchange liberalization, tariff restructuring, the privatization of government corporations, and the deregulation of key economic sectors such as transport and agribusiness, the “sound macroeconomic environment” produced by these interventions was envisioned to facilitate the gradual reduction of poverty by resulting initiatives in the private, and specifically, the rural sector. The MTPDP openly stated, “The role of the government is to encourage and support private institutions and not to compete with them.”It would, analogously, propound a development strategy far more grounded on the agricultural economy, away from the debunked strategems of export-oriented industrialism under Marcos.

Where poverty was principally seen as a lack of jobs and incomes, restoring rapid growth by means of macro-level strategies would gradually generate “trickle down” benefits from the private sector to the remainder of the population. Jumpstarting “demand-driven, employment-oriented” growth was thus seen to be the most immediate task, for this would ensure the vitality of the Philippine economy as a whole. Meanwhile, more locally, social services and employment-generation projects would supplement this largely macroeconomic slant to poverty alleviation. The zenith of these interventions would be reached in the Tulong sa Tao program, which reportedly benefitted 110,000 rural Filipinos by means of small enterprise development and credit-extension initiatives[4].

Yet apart from such policy reforms and programs, other pressures exerted by the administration’s civil society allies came to bear on its anti-poverty agenda; and these influences eventually coaxed on its development agenda to further-reaching concerns of equity and social justice. “The ultimate aim of development efforts is the eradication of poverty and the attainment of a better life for each and every Filipino in an equitable and just society,”[5] avowed the beginning of the 1986 development plan, for example.

Dubbed as the government’s PRO-Poor Initiative (Program to Refocus Orientation on the Poor), the drive would gradually enshrine gender equity concerns throughout all national and subnational planning processes. It would manifest in the commitment the MTPDP displayed towards strengthening labour’s bargaining power and  raising urban minimum wages; in the extraordinary leverage it granted non-government organizations as “the prime mover of development… the lead in undertaking and sustaining programs and projects aimed at improving the Philippine socioeconomic situation.”[6] But most of all, it was epitomized through the passage into law and implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which originally set out to redistribute 10,265,600 hectares of farmland long-awaited by landless farmers throughout the Philippines. CARP, insisted the government, would be no less than the “centrepiece of the effort… to ensure that the gains from agricultural growth are fully transmitted to small farmers.”[7]

Yet despite the vast promise of the Aquino administration when it first gained power, later developments would compromise any chances for realizing these visions of a more poverty-free and socially just Philippines. The delivery of rural infrastructures and services would continue to be disregarded, and the government’s debt strategy would hobble its capability to finance any comprehensive development programs. Between 1988 and 1991 the poverty incidence of the country declined by a mere 0.3%— from 40.2% to 39.9% of the population[8]. More tellingly still, then-president Corazon Aquino vacillated in implementing land reform in her family’s own landholdings in Hacienda Luisita, presaging CARP’s eventual sabotage by established landlords and dynastic politicians.

The socioeconomic impact of such political dynamics is amply documented in the movements of accepted inequality indices during those years. Rather than improving from 1988 to 1991, the Gini ratio of income deteriorated from 0.4466 to 0.4680[9].

The Ramos Administration: The Social Reform Agenda amidst deepened Neoliberal Restructuring

The Ramos administration would bring a heady blend of continuity and change in the government’s poverty paradigm. For one, the new MTPDP of 1992-1997 would amplify the government’s enmeshment in free-market policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization; its crusade against cartels, cronyism and established monopolies. It would, additionally, de-emphasize agrarian reform and rural development in order to bolster to the competitive clout of domestic industries. With a depth and consistency unmatched by any administration until then or since, the country would be heaped with even more macroeconomic readjustments— all in the name of spurring “global competitiveness” in the private sector; of transporting the Philippines into the ranks of other Newly-Industrializing Countries by the year 2000.

Once more, the links between market restructuring, efficiency and poverty reduction were said to be clear and indisputable; likewise, the private sector was again touted the prime mover of the development process. Big changes were also in store for the usual anti-poverty exercises, however.

These were the years, after all, during which the Bretton Woods organizations repackaged their involvements in the Global South due to the disasters wrought by SAP’s around the globe. Ultimately, the multilaterals concluded that macro-scale entwinements with the dilemmas of the developing world were insufficient in and of themselves; they would need to be further accompanied with microeconomic engagements to achieve reduction targets and goals. In place of a tunnel-vision focus on economic growth alone, other social and environmental indicators such as literacy and air quality would have to be more closely attended to, so that the immediate disruptions brought about market restructuring could be adequately counterbalanced.

These latent developments would supersede the SAP approach in the IMF and the World Bank only in 1999 with the coming of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper methodology. Yet by the catapulting of Fidel Ramos to the Philippine presidency, they were already potent enough to provoke an ambitious shift in the MTPDP’s anti-poverty programs. “In poverty alleviation, we have moved away from the old ‘trickle down’ policies to a ‘positive bias’ for our poorest provinces… Our object is to help the poor help themselves— by expanding their access to health care, basic education, decent housing, credit, jobs…,”[10] Ramos himself announced on this Third State of the Nation address in 1994.

His statement would be symbolic of key innovations made during his times in Malacañang.

Animated by the Minimum Basic Needs (MBN) approach, Ramos’ feted Social Reform Agenda (SRA) would integrate the delivery of social services, asset reforms and social protection to assuage the unmet basic needs of the 20 poorest provinces in the country. Hailed during its time as the most consultative, reform-oriented and well-targeted poverty platform in Philippine history, the SRA harnessed a “localized” and “convergent” alleviation strategy— localized, because it targeted clearly defined and mapped localities; convergent, as it sought to bring together national and local agencies, peoples organizations, NGO’s and other development stakeholders throughout the planning, execution and monitoring stages of poverty interventions. To be sure, there had been endeavours in the Aquino administration to incorporate the MBN paradigm— yet none of these efforts evidently approached the scale, breadth and level of consolidation of the Social Reform Agenda.

Apart from these SRA aspects, the Ramos administration would institutionalize the “basic sectors” in existing anti-poverty thinking and discourse. The localities targeted for implementation were known to be markedly heterogeneous in terms of their concrete demands and necessities; farmers, coastal fisherfolk, urban poor, informal workers, and indigenous peoples especially required modified interventions to guarantee their contextual importance. To discriminate between these demands, a set of 33 MBN indicators spanning basic survival needs, security and capability considerations was employed throughout project prioritization and development. By means of this Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS), the social services that would be delivered to communities would be determined by those communities’ and sectors’ ten most unmet basic necessities. These same indicators would then be used to monitor progress over time by the program’s stakeholders.

In short, despite the escalation of the neoliberal restructuring of the Philippine economy during the Ramos period, we also witness for the first time the emergence of massive, coordinated, nationwide poverty reduction programs. “Through the SRA”, shared the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), “the language of reform and poverty reduction was mainstreamed in national and local governance.”[11] Whereas in the previous administration, poverty was conceived mostly in terms of income and joblessness alone, here nothing less than an all-inclusive bundle of socioeconomic goods and services would suffice to address it. Participatory approaches were, moreover, tested in the operations of national poverty interventions for the first time; while the basic sectors were also buoyed up into the bandwagon of anti-poverty involvements and discussions.

A last legacy of the Ramos presidency that is often disregarded lies in its creation of special anti-poverty infrastructures in the government bureaucracy. Although NAPC would only become active during the first month of the succeeding regime, its overall architecture was earlier laid out in the passage of the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act of 1997 (R.A. 8425), which institutionalized the SRA into the Commission’s mandated agenda. Through the widespread adoption of the Minimum Basic Needs Survey, an overhauled poverty information-gathering, resource-tracking and monitoring apparatus was similarly put into play at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). The data gathered from these instruments continue to be used by planning bureaus until the present day.

The results of the revamped anti-poverty platform seemingly testified to a breakthrough. The family poverty incidence of the Philippines stood at 39.9% in1991, but by 1997 had been whittled to 31.8% by 1997— an 8.1% overall decrease[12]. All regimes to follow would consequently espouse the MBN approach first mainstreamed in the MTPDP of 1992-1997.

Yet at the same, a number of systemic conundrums would be regularly condemned by the government’s critics, sometimes, even its civil society allies. Contradictions between the regressive portents of government’s neoliberal undertakings on one hand, and its anti-poverty pledges on the other, naturally multiplied: these contradictions would boil over in the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997[13]. In the meantime, owing to the administration’s plaudits to “agro-industrialization”, land conversions and industrial estates mushroomed over the countryside, subverting fervent hopes for agrarian reform. With no less controversy, the Philippines’ Mining Act was legislated in 1995, subjecting hundreds of indigenous communities to the possibility of permanent dislocation.

Without discounting the real achievements of the Ramos government, these pernicious trends necessarily place any unreserved celebrations of the administration under question.

The Estrada Interim: Grand Ambitions, Dramatic Twists

Ramos would be succeeded by Joseph Estrada, whose span in office would be marked by dizzying turns and twists. From Ramos, he inherited a country in which the worst concussions of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 were finally becoming manifest. To the electorate who had raised him to the presidency with a landslide mandate, his incumbency signalled a populist sidestep of government policy in favour of the poor, as his campaign slogan “Erap para sa Mahirap” seemed to signify.

Would form be matched by substance, poverty reduction-wise?

Initially, it seemed to be so. It was during the Estrada period, after all, that NAPC was operationalized by the government in order to extend the SRA and its basic sector partnerships throughout successive administrations.[14] Building upon the novelties introduced by the past government, the anti-poverty framework of the time combined aggressive rural modernization, an ambitious provisioning of social services, and the cultivation of a competitive institutional environment where “government’s primary role is to increasingly make competitive markets work… and to help the disadvantaged effectively adjust to the difficulties associated with the restructuring of markets…”[15] Interestingly enough, the MTPDP of 1999-2004 would claim to be advancing a “preferential option for the poor” by enabling a more “equitable” stream of revenues to LGUs for additional poverty projects and initiatives.[16]

Beyond the campaign oratory, however, no fundamental differences divided the anti-poverty framework of Estrada from that of his precursors— whether in its thrust to make the domestic economy “internationally competitive” via the same macro-oriented reforms as before, or in its attempt to complement this with a comprehensive, integrated focus on meeting the minimum basic needs of poor communities. “For the first time”, an ADB report contends, “an attempt is made to make the plan revolve around a common theme of sustaining growth and reducing poverty”[17] (Sustainable Development and Growth with Social Equity was its slogan); yet the theme itself had already been present, if less explicitly articulated in the MTPDP of the Ramos administration, and the Aquino period’s PRO-Poor Initiative.

In truth, if one difference did exist, this appeared to be in the Estrada administration’s overriding focus on rural development, which was revived to a central tenet of its MTPDP. Indeed, rural development comprised the very first priority area specified in the administration’s development plan, where it asserted that apart from the continuation of land redistribution, “it is equally important to adopt the proper policies to attract greater domestic and foreign capital and technology.”[18] Mass housing would also be an item of considerable governmental attention— the budget for socialized housing and the “human relocation” of informal settlers skyrocketed from 18% to 80% in 1999. Estrada’s Executive Order No. 159, in fact, would outright decree it “as the centrepiece program of the Estrada Administration.”

But whatever original hopes Estrada may have nourished were soon bogged down by insipid outgrowths and by the brewing political crisis that would heave him out of the presidential palace. The administration’s Lingap para sa Mahihirap program delivered an omnibus package of social services to the 100 poorest families in each LGU nationwide— yet later assessments would also narrate how poverty incidence paradoxically increased from 31.8% to 33.7%[19]. Even during that time, allegations were rife that the Lingap program constituted nothing more than additional pork barrel funds for incumbent politicians. Future stories of Estrada’s “midnight cabinet” and would do little to deodorize the regime of the stigma of graft and corruption.

For all of Estrada’s populist rhetoric, little of his campaign promises to uplift the nation’s poor materialized, although initial attempts were certainly made to re-rail agrarian reform on the acquisition distribution track neglected under Ramos. It is indicative that in 1999, the present Secretary of NAPC, Joel Rocamora, maintained “I don’t see a distinct pro-poor policy”, when asked by foreign correspondents about Estrada’s anti-poverty posturing[20].

Business as Usual?: The Case of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo mounted the seat of the chief executive on the heels of a popular uprising. Soon, however, it became obvious that she was no different than her predecessors. In no time at all, relentless growth, now bannered in the MTPDP of 2001-2004 as “equitable growth based on free enterprise” [21] was again ennobled as the main motor to slashing the ranks and files of Philippine poverty. Politically, her stint in Malacañang would see the nation whacked by scandal after scandal.

With Arroyo herself as a neoliberal economist, and an author of several market-oriented laws, the new MTPDP once more placed unprecedented weight on generating macroeconomic stability to nurture “global competitiveness,” even as it sought to shield the market from the volatile extremes of the global economy. Again, efficiency consideration would reign supreme— government activities would be streamlined, simplified, scaled down, fomenting even greater opportunities for private sector infiltration. “Government shall focus on providing the enabling environment in which private initiatives can flourish and serve the common good,”[22] held the development plan once more.

Through “structural” and regulatory reforms, the government would take aim at privatizing NAPOCOR, PNOC-EDC, PNCC, the NFA, the transport and water sectors. It would once more take up the cudgels for agricultural modernization, while training its sights on the “the fast-growing ICT sector” and the tourism industry as lead employment generators. These would, it claimed, generate jobs in the private sector— the “key to winning the war against poverty.”[23]

The MTPDP of 2004-2010 would largely replicate these themes. Yet a heightened mindfulness of microenterprise development as a prime alleviation instrument would also be apparent. “Microenterprises comprise around 91.6% of the country’s businesses,” claimed the MTPDP.[24] Thus, two major anti-poverty programs would eye the desired tripling of microfinance initiatives, and the massive provision of livelihood projects amongst the self-employed poor. The attention on microenterprises would further reinvigorate efforts on the poor’s livelihood assets and resources— the writings of the property rights guru Hernando de Soto would be this trend’s guiding figure[25].  

But although the macroeconomic conventions would by and large remain intact, the two MTPDP’s would nonetheless highlight some novel concepts in the analysis of poverty and its reduction.

For the first time, the framing of poverty as an issue of vulnerability, and the contexts of especially-vulnerable sectors in poverty reduction such as IP’s and the disabled were made central foci of development plans[26].“The poor and marginalized groups in the Philippines face various risks…” insisted the MTPDP of 2001-2004,“Unless the poor and vulnerable groups overcome these risks, it is unlikely that they can contribute to and benefit from development.”[27]A variety of shocks that disenable the poor from reaping their proper share of benefits like economic dislocation, natural calamities, price fluctuations and even “structural adjustment” were duly noted. These, in turn, would justify an array of safety net, socialized health, food subsidy and refined targeting mechanisms intended to “bring the poor and vulnerable back into the mainstream development process.”[28] Specific action plans were moreover crafted for those groups deemed especially vulnerable— such as children, youth, women, IP’s, the elderly and the disabled.

Arroyo’s government, through the work of DSWD and NAPC, would pursue other changes of its own with the “Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan” (KALAHI) program. Wedding the encompassing packages institutionalized throughout the Ramos period with more recent methodologies of community-driven development, the KALAHI-CIDSS program allegedly enhanced the involvement of local districts in the designing, implementation and management of specific anti-poverty interventions. Beyond securing the alleviation of basic needs, accelerating asset reforms, infrastructure development, and heightening the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities of the poor, this enabled the program, contended adherents, “to empower communities through their enhanced participation in community projects that reduce poverty.”[29]

A later variant on KALAHI— the KALAHI-CIDSS program— would even go so far as to extending grants to finance projects conceived, managed and implemented by community stakeholders themselves. 4,583 baranggays in the 42 poorest provinces and municipalities in the Philippines would be recipients of such grants by 2010[30].

Certainly, since the regime of Corazon Aquino, NGO’s and People’s Organizations had functioned as mainstays in the development and socioeconomic development process at large— but not at any time before, it seems, has a community-driven, bottom-up approach to development been trumpeted in a flagship project to such a degree. Midway through 2008, the conditional cash transfers of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps), would officially commence, becoming Arroyo’s second most bejewelled anti-poverty program.

The dust has yet to completely settle on the anti-poverty performance of Arroyo’s regime, but analyses conducted by the ADB in 2010 have harvested positive, though only lukewarm figures. From a rate of 33.0% in 2006, the poverty incidence of the Philippines is sketched to have declined to 29.7% by 2009. Similarly, the Gini index of 0.494 in 2006 had only declined to 0.484 by 2009[31].

Even the impact of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 considered, the numbers are far from stellar.

The Matter of Continuity and Change

In over two decades of poverty action, many clear shifts can be seen in the evolution of the Philippine government’s poverty paradigms. These shifts are broadly sketched in the table below.

Administration Notable Programs Macroeconomic Themes Anti-Poverty Themes
Corazon Aquino(1986-1992)
  • Program to Refocus Orientation on the Poor
  • Tulong sa Tao Program
  • Diminished the arbitrary abuse of state power and rent-seeking
  • Correction of protectionist forms of economic mismanagement
  • Movement from Export-Oriented Industrialization to Employment-Oriented Agrarian Development
  • Emphasis on promoting “free and fair competition” through privatization and deregulation
  • Promotion of the private business sector and civil society involvement in development
  • Poverty reduction is equally concerned with equity and social justice
  • Gender equity concerns introduced into development planning
  • Promotion of labor’s bargaining power
  • Significant space of civil society engagement in the formation of government policies
  • Enshrining asset reforms (CARP) as the centrepiece program of government
Fidel V. Ramos(1992-1998)
  • Social Reform Agenda
  • Community Integrated Delivery of Social Services
  • Intensifying market reforms of liberalization, privatization and deregulation
  • Shifting from rural-development to  honing competitiveness in domestic industries
  • The private sector as the main driver of development
  • Emphasis on the government as providing a ripe environment for global competitiveness
  • Mainstreaming of the Minimum Basic Needs approach to poverty reduction
  • Introduction of comprehensive, localized and convergent poverty reduction programs
  • Institutionalization of the concept and collaboration with the “Basic Sectors”
  • Establishing of groundwork of future anti-poverty infrastructures
Joseph Estrada(1998-2001)
  • Lingap para sa Mahirap
  • Sectoral focus on agricultural modernization
  • Role of government to provide institutional architecture for competitive markets, and help ease transitions in disadvantaged population
  • Continuation of market reforms of privatization, deregulation and liberalization
  • Maintenance of MBN approach to poverty-reduction
  • Operationalization of the National Anti-Poverty Commission
  • Renewed emphases of land redistribution and the provision of socialized housing
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001-2010)
  • Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan / KALAHI-CIDSS
  • Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program
  • Government to provide the enabling environment where private enterprise can serve the public good
  • Action on employment and livelihoods as the  key to addressing poverty reduction
  • Focus on agriculture, ICT’s and Tourism as prime growth sectors
  • Continuation of structural and regulatory reforms
  • Central focus on the vulnerable aspects of poverty and the differing contexts of vulnerable groups
  • Mainstreaming of community-driven, bottom-up methods of anti-poverty interventions
  • Initial attempts with conditional cash transfer interventions

With Corazon Aquino, for one, we see the administrative precedence granted of poverty reduction and the pursuit of equity and social justice for the very first time; with Fidel Ramos, the MBN approach, collaboration with the basic sectors, and the model of coordinated social service delivery are propagated throughout the national bureaucracy. The National Anti-Poverty Commission sees its first days and land redistribution is revived as a serious governmental priority amidst the tumultuous Estrada regime. Lastly, a few more framework adjustments will be made under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo— the highlighting of the vulnerable dimensions of poverty, the stressing of the poor’s microenterprises, the prospects of community-driven project implementation.

But all these variations also betray a zero-level of sameness that begs further consternation. Clearly, some constants prevail— the most striking of these are evinced at the level of the macro-economy.

Since 1986, all government development plans have professed that economic growth, spurred mostly by neoliberal structural reforms, would bear fruit by means of reducing poverty levels and figures. These reforms would allegedly impact the private sector the most; they would induce “global competitiveness” in their behaviour, goad heightened investment into the national economy, whether from local or foreign sources. If these structural realignments would not straightaway lift the poor’s incomes and livelihoods, then this would be achieved when the windfalls accrued by the private sector would finally trickle down into better job and remunerative opportunities, and lower-priced consumer goods for the poor.

From Aquino to Arroyo, it has been claimed that the role of the state was to furnish a macroeconomic climate conducive to investment for private enterprise and free competition. This “enabling environment” would only be sustained by a series of implacable, at times unforgiving, market and public sector reforms. Government corporations would be privatized; private industries would be deregulated; entire sectors would be liberalized; and institutional efficiency would be installed as the cardinal virtue from one administration to the next. Anti-poverty programs would remain pillars in all development plans, of course— yet the constant subtext is that it would be robustness of the private business sector, competitive markets and the assimilation of the poor into their fold that would make or break the historic march towards a poverty-free Philippines.

But have the rationalizations matched reality in our post-EDSA Philippines? As is becoming increasingly recognized, “There seems to be a missing link between macroeconomic stability, growth and poverty reduction,” in our present poverty framework[32]. Despite all rhetorical deflections to the contrary, in other words, the disproven assumptions of trickle-down economics continue to animate the Philippine government’s approach to growth and poverty reduction. While economic analyses demonstrate a link between growth and poverty alleviation, should not growth be clearly subordinated to promoting the well-being of the poor and society at large— not the other way around? What then, furthermore, of social justice? What then of equity?

Could it be, additionally, that the market-endorsing and growth-centric solutions to poverty reduction fail to hit on other, equally vital dimensions of hardship and deprivation? Are there, rather, systemic processes in how markets and the private sector are currently organized that exacerbate, instead of appease, the multiple shades of experience of poverty, inequality and marginalization? What are the other policy options, and forms of social organization that can be supported, or even initiated to address these?

These, too, are questions deserving of more timely and critical attention.

[1] Asian Development Bank. Philippines: Critical Development Constraints. Economics and Research Department. Manduluyong City: ADB, 2007. 60.

[2] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1987-1992. Manila: NEDA, 1987. 3.

[3] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1987-1992. Manila: NEDA, 1987. 38.

[4] Asian Development Bank. Philippines: Critical Development Constraints. Economics and Research Department. Manduluyong City: ADB, 2007. 60.

[5] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1987-1992. Manila: NEDA, 1987. 3.

[6] Philippines. Office of the President. President’s Report: 1986-1992. Manila: Office of the President, Web. <http://www.coryaquino.ph/coryaquino/assets/images/ThePresidentReport.pdf>.

[7] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1987-1992. Manila: NEDA, 1987. 43.

[8] From the National Statistical Coordination Board, 2011.

[9] From the National Statistical Coordination Board, 2011.

[10] Philippines. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Fidel V. Ramos, Third State of the Nation Address, July 25, 1994. 22 January 2012. <www.gov.ph/1994/07/25/fidel-v-ramos-third-state-of-the-nation-address-july-25-199>.

[11] National Anti-Poverty Commission. Kalahi Convergence: Working Together for Poverty Reduction. NAPC Localization Unit. Quezon City: NAPC, 2005. 27.

[12] Reyes, Celia. “The Poverty Fight: Has It Made an Impact?” Perspectives Papers Series No. 2. Philippine Institute for Development Studies. Makati City: PIDS, 2003. 2.

[13] For an account of how the Ramos reforms led to the Philippines’ vulnerability in the Asian Financial Crisis, please see:

Bello et al. The Anti-Development State: The Political Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, 2009.

[14] National Anti-Poverty Commission. Kalahi Convergence: Working Together for Poverty Reduction. NAPC Localization Unit. Quezon City: NAPC, 2005. 28.

[15] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1999-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 1999. Print. <http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/mtpdp/AngatPinoy/ch1/chapter1-II.htm>.

[16] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1999-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 1999. Print. <http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/mtpdp/AngatPinoy/ch1/chapter1-II.htm>.

[17] Asian Development Bank. Poverty in the Philippines: Incomes, Assets and Access. Southeast Asia Department. Manduluyong City: ADB, 2005. 110.

[18] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 1999-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 1999. Print. < http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/mtpdp/AngatPinoy/ch1/chapter1-III.htm>.

[19] Reyes, Celia. “The Poverty Fight: Has It Made an Impact?” Perspectives Papers Series No. 2. Philippine Institute for Development Studies. Makati City: PIDS, 2003. 13.

[20] Gan, Ivan. “Scandals, Internal Fighting mark Estrada’s first year.” Asia Times Online [Hong Kong] 01 07 1999, n. pag. Print. <http://www.atimes.com/se-asia/AG01Ae02.html>.

[21] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2001-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. <http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/mtpdp_part1.htm>.

[22] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2001-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. < http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/chapters_16-18/ch16.htm>.

[23] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2001-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. <http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/mtpdp_part1.htm>.

[24] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2004-2010. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. < http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/MTPDP2004-2010/PDF/MTPDP%202004-2010%20NEDA_Chapterx12_Poor.pdf>.

[25] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2004-2010. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. < http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/MTPDP2004-2010/PDF/MTPDP%202004-2010%20NEDA_Chapterx12_Poor.pdf>.

[26] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2001-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. < http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/chapters_10-15/ch13.htm>.

[27] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2001-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. < http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/chapters_10-15/ch13.htm>.

[28] Philippines. National Economic Development Agency. Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, 2001-2004. Makati City: NEDA, 2001. Web. < http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/mtpdp/chapters_10-15/ch13.htm>.

[29] The World Bank. Empowering the Poor: The Kalahi-CIDSS Community-Drive Development Project: A Toolkit of Concepts and Cases. Participation and Civic Engagement Group: Social Development Department. Pasig City: The World Bank Office, 2006. 5.

[30] Gudmalin, Camilio. The Kalahi-CIDSS Project: Impact on Impoverished Communities. From Diaspora to Development: Diaspora Philantrophy. 23 January 2012. < http://diasporaphilanthropy.cfo.gov.ph/Files/Diaspora2011/Gudmalin_KALAHI-CIDSS_Project.pdf>

[31] Balicasan, Arsenio, et al. The Social Impact of the Global Financial Crisis in the Philippines. Manduluyong City: ADB, 2010. 17.

[32] Asian Development Bank. Poverty in the Philippines Philippines: Causes, Constraints and Opportunities. Manduluyong City: ADB, 2009. 65.

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