Poverty incidence in the Philippine remains at its low level, despite the millions of families that do not have access to safe drinking water, quality healthcare, and even education, according to the Oxford University's new poverty index released Wednesday.
With the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) has released the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which noted that only 13 percent or 11.2 million Filipinos are poor.
The old Human Poverty Index showed that 23 percent of Filipinos live on $1.25 a day and 45 percent on $2 a day, with the national poverty line at 25 percent of 88.7 million Filipinos as of 2009.
"Our measure identifies the most vulnerable households and groups and enables us to understand exactly which deprivations afflict their lives," said OPHI director Sabina Alkire, who, together with James Foster of the George Washington University, created the MPI.
"The new measure can help governments and development agencies wishing to target aid more effectively to those specific communities," she added.
Of 104 countries ranked under the MPI, the Philippines was No. 56.
Niger, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Burundi, and Liberia have the highest poverty incidence, according to the new measure, with Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus and Latvia having the lowest incidence of poverty.
The Oxford initiative didn't just look at the facade of poverty but also into the conditions surrounding the delivery of, and access to, electricity, sanitation services, and water, and considered how overall education and health conditions affects the index.
"The MPI provides a fuller measure of poverty than the traditional dollar-a-day formulas. It is a valuable addition to the family of instruments we use to examine broader aspects of well-being, including UNDP's Human Development Index and other measures of inequality across the population and between genders," said Jeni Klugman, director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office and the principal author of this year's report.
"The MPI assesses a range of critical factors or deprivations at the household level — from education to health outcomes to assets and services," the Oxford initiative said in a statement.
"These factors provide a fuller portrait of acute poverty than simple income measures," it added.
"Also, the new measure reveals the nature and extent of poverty at different levels — from household up to regional, national, and international levels," the statement said.
The "multidimensional" approach to assessing poverty has been adapted for national use in Mexico, and is now being considered by Chile and Colombia.
"The MPI is like a high resolution lens which reveals a vivid spectrum of challenges facing the poorest households," said Alkire.
This year's Human Development Report will be published in late October, but results of the MPI were made available Wednesday at a policy forum in London and online on the websites of OPHI and the UNDP Human Development Report.
The MPI will be featured in the forthcoming 20th anniversary edition of the UNDP Human Development Report, and replaces the Human Poverty Index, which had been included in these reports since 1997. —JE/VS, GMANews.TV
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