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17 DEC 2001. VOLUME 33. NUMBER 28. 4 PAGES_ 

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SDRC joins NSO in tracking poverty

The Social Development Research Center (SDRC) of De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU-M) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the National Statistics Office (NSO) to help improve the methodology of tracking poverty in the Philippines.

Titled “Mapping and Tracking Poverty Through the Use of Non-Income Poverty and Welfare Measures,” the MOA primarily aims to construct non-income based poverty and welfare measures to be used in monitoring poverty. By combining the results of NSO’s two national surveys, namely the Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES) and Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS), the joint project will be able to determine the poverty and welfare status of Filipinos from 1997 to 2000.

The Family Income and Expenditures Survey estimates the poverty incidence in the country, while the Annual Poverty Indicator Survey attempts to assess the poverty situation of the Filipinos using 23 minimum basic needs (mbn). Some of these minimum basic needs are health, education, and welfare measures provided by the government.

Dr. Exeltacion Lamberte, director of SDRC, believes that the new agreement provides La Salle the opportunity to contribute in giving poverty a new dimension which will hopefully lead to a better understanding of its causes and effects.

Compared to the economists who view income as a measure of poverty, the Center will view the issue on a non-income aspect by highlighting the social capital and human resources in the study.

A recent study shows that the poverty incidence in the country increased from 31 per cent in 1997 to 34 percent in 2001. Several factors such as the financial Asian currency crisis in 1997 and political instability during the Estrada administration are considered reasons for the increase. From the economists viewpoint, it is the worldwide economic recession that bogged the national economy down. On the other hand, social scientists argue that the poverty in the Philippines is a byproduct of the income and wealth inequalities in the country.

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