Poverty in the Philippines is ‘Imaginary,’ Says Gadon

The poverty in the Philippines is “haka-haka,” or imaginary according to Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation, Secretary Larry Gadon,.

Gadon contradicted the concept of poverty in the country amidst the large number of people in shopping malls and fast-food chain branches, as well as the abundance of new cars on the roads.

Larry Gadon Says Poverty in the Philippines is “Imaginary”

Larry Gadon gives his opinion about poverty in the Philippines

LARRY GADON – The Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation secretary claimed that poverty in the Philippines is merely “imaginary” at present, pointing to the decreasing poverty rate.

During an interview on Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon, Gadon highlighted the large number of people in shopping malls and fast-food chain branches, as well as the abundance of new cars on the roads. “Sa totoo lang ‘yang mga nagsasabi na napakahirap ng buhay ngayon ay sila lang ang nagsasabi niyan, haka-haka lang nila ‘yan,” he remarked.

Gadon asserted that the crowded malls and fast-food branches indicate high purchasing power among Filipinos. “Pero ang katotohanan, magpunta ka sa mga mall, punong-puno. Pumunta ka kahit sa mga probinsya, yung mga branches ng [fast food chains], punong-puno. Ibig sabihin, mataas ang purchasing power ng mga Pilipino,” he said. “Lumabas ka ng kalsada, napakaraming bagong kotse, napaka-traffic. Anong ibig sabihin niyan? Maraming nakakabili ng kotse, which means maganda ang ekonomiya,” he added.

Larry Gadon stated that the poverty rate has decreased from 24.7% in 2023 to 23.4% so far this year, citing a decline of 1.3%, representing 11 million Filipinos. However, he did not specify his source. He attributed the improvement to the reopening of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, and the rise in the employment rate.

According to available data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as per GMA News, the country’s poverty rate decreased to 22.4% in the first half of 2023 from 23.7% in the same period in 2021. There were 2 million unemployed individuals in March, resulting in an unemployment rate of 3.9%, based on a labor force of 51.15 million Filipinos aged 15 and above, equating to a labor force participation rate of 65.3%. However, the number of employed individuals reached 49.15 million in March 2024, reflecting an employment rate of 96.1%. This is compared to 48.95 million employed in February with a 96.5% employment rate and 48.58 million in March 2023 with an employment rate of 95.3%.

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