Govt to create more agriculture jobs
MANILA, Philippines - A day after the government released its official poverty statistics for the first semester of 2012, Malacañang said it intends to focus on implementing job generation programs in the agriculture sector to increase agriculture productivity.
The government said the country's poverty incidence remained unchanged since 2006 with the average poverty incidence -- or the percentage of the population living below the poverty line -- at 27.9% in the first semester of 2012.
"Previously, our focus is to increase production but how do (we) make sure that production translates to a greater income for the farmers; and those are jobs. And if you increase productivity, provide more jobs, provide diversification of crops, we will enhance (job) generation in the countryside," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday, April 24.
Lacierda said the country's poverty incidence in the first semester of 2012 reflects the dismal performance of the agriculture sector. He said that while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to 6% in the second quarter of 2012, the growth in the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (AFF) sector was slow at only 0.7%.
Malacanang was also optimistic that poverty incidence in the 2nd semester of 2012 and the coming semesters will be better given the programs that the Pnoy administration has implemented.
Lacierda said the government has accelerated its disbursement program, particularly for agriculture needs in target areas. He said most of the projects funded were farm to market roads that will help increase productivity in the sector as well as farmer's incomes.
"The poverty incidence, we believe, will also go down, decline. But let me state that this is not an overnight thing. This is a work in progress. We have already identified the areas where we need to improve on: in the agricultural sector, private investments have increased. Our public infrastructure, for instance, in 2012 was around P250 billion," Lacierda explained.
"And we’ll continue to increase our three areas of growth sector that we have identified as we have already previously stated: agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure," he added.
Lacierda also said these efforts will be complemented by an expected increase in investments. He said that in the 2nd semester of 2012, the influx of investments already began, a trend that is expected to continue moving forward.
In March 27, the Philippines received its first investment grade rating from Fitch Ratings. The country's credit rating from Fitch has improved to BBB-, the first rung of investment grade ratings.
An immediate impact of the credit rating upgrade was on the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) which posted it's 24th record high when Fitch upgraded the Philippines credit rating to investment grade.
The stock market has since traded upward to 7,120.48, its 27th all-time high for 2013. The PSEi is already nearing the 38 record-highs it posted in 2012. - Rappler.com