A latest study by the World Bank revealed that the Philippines is among the list of countries with very high income inequality.
The study also noted that the poverty in the Philippines fell by as much as two-thirds or 66 percent.
Using the Gini coefficient, which tracks the difference or disparity between wealth distribution or income levels, the country’s income inequality was measured. Zero indicates perfect equality, with higher coefficients indicating higher inequality.
The result shows that of over 40, the Philippines has the second highest income inequality in East Asia, behind Thailand. Philippines also ranked 15th out of 63 nations worldwide with high income inequality, based on available data.
It also noted that the top 1 percent of earners in the Philippines captured 17 percent of national income, while the bottom 50 percent—the poorest half—only accounts for 14 percent.
The study points out that the reasons behind this were manifold and primarily unfair circumstances.
Factors like being born in a poor area or socially entrenched biases against gender and ethnicity contribute to individuals have less access to education, healthcare, nutrition, and employment. Because all of these are necessary elements for success later in life, the circumstances in the Philippines perpetuates a cycle of poverty which generations of individuals are unable to escape, the study showed.
Some of the current government initiatives to address income inequality include the use of fiscal incentives to encourage businesses to invest in training, upskilling, research, and development.
Another is the full utilization of the PhilSys National ID System to ensure social protection programs such as the social amelioration or ‘ayuda’ program during the pandemic are properly distributed to deserving, vulnerable households.