Putting a Face on Poverty

Michelle Asuncion (Philippines, AC 08-10)


For every country, every nation, and every place in the world, poverty is a very important concern that needs to be addressed. Poverty touches on innumerable aspects of a nation; it is related to injustice and an obstruction to a nation’s development.


The Philippines, known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, is one of many countries facing the issue on poverty.  Though struggling as years went by and ever more challenges arouse, the Philippines never lost the hope of uplifting its economic status.


According to a press release from Malacanang, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo joined hands with the world leaders, CEOs, NGOs, foundations, civil society and officials from private sectors who participated in the recent Special Millenium Development Goal (MDG) Meeting.  In this meeting, she delivered the country’s report on progress made in eliminating poverty and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. She firmly stressed that the country had made solid gains in reducing poverty and hunger.


The MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating global partnerships for development, trade and debt relief. The Declaration was signed by 189 member states, including the Philippines.


The MDG meeting was intended to stir up world support with the motive of ensuring that the eight poverty reduction goals agreed on by the world leaders in 2000 are met by all countries by 2015.


In her address at the 63rd UN General Assembly, Arroyo lined out the concrete plans and practical actions to be taken by the Philippines to ensure its compliance with the MDG target date. In addition, she put forward specific steps to be taken on the issues of oil prices and food in the global market.


According to Gov. Ph.News, some of the highlights achieved in he Philippines since October 2007 include the  “considerable progress particularly in poverty reduction, nutrition, reducing child mortality, combating AIDS and HIV, malaria and other diseases, and access to safe drinking water and sanitary toilet facility.” It is generally hoped for and expected that further economic reforms will also help aid and  improve the present status of the Philippines.


”Against the backdrop of this turmoil, we remain optimistic that the structural reforms we have made at home will allow us to overcome the external shock abroad,” the President said. Through the great self-reliance strategy adopted by the Philippine government, including the diversification of the export market, greater use of renewable and indigenous sources of energy, maintenance of steady food supply (especially rice) and measures to increase food production, the country will emerge from the various global challenges. 

Arroyo said “we need the UN as never before. We need international cooperation as never before,.. we are all in this boat together… no one is immune’. UN member states are urged by Arroyo to help implementing the Comprehensive Framework of Action that will allow the achievement of food security through policies, technology and investments. UN states are also asked to think about how to attain a world free from poverty and hunger. ”We must always remember to put a face on poverty and a face on the poor,” the President said, adding that dramatic progress can be achieved if there is unity and cooperation among nations. The light of hope for a progressive world still lives within the leaders.


– United World College Student Magazine –


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