By Jewilyn Sta Maria

Cartoon by Joseph Idusora

Poverty is still a huge problem in the Philippines, and it is becoming worse, especially now that several areas and provinces are still reeling from the effects of Super Typhoon Odette, which struck in December 2021. Writing down new year resolutions is a tradition passed down by generations that tries to resolve or otherwise enhance a person's traits at the start of a new year. While people at the higher and middle-class list down their long new year’s resolutions stating how they want their 2022 look and have a successful year, those at the outcast of societies still can’t resolve the damages brought by inequalities and injustice in the system and their suffering still continues. 

Lockdowns, job losses, and economic disruptions have disproportionately harmed the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Prior to the pandemic, at least one-third of employees in 103 of 158 nations examined labor rights such as sick pay, leaving them unable to deal with the crisis.

Poverty, simply said, is a cyclical phenomenon that affects every aspect of a person's life. Yes, the impoverished are prone to making poor judgments. Systemic poverty, regardless of one's choices, locks individuals and their descendants in poverty.

While the elections in this country look to be democratic on the surface, the Philippines remains in the hands of a small number of families who are in it to serve themselves rather than the country's 100+ million people. Corruption worsens poverty, though it is frequently associated with pictures of individuals becoming wealthy. However, the links between corruption and poverty are significantly more numerous and persistent.

According to Transparency International's 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, the country is ranked 113rd least corrupt out of 180 nations in terms of corruption. This is a 14-notch drop from the previous year's ranking.

Economic growth is slowed, distorted, and diverted by corruption. This is unsurprising, given that the majority of corruption occurs behind closed doors. Furthermore, measuring the efficiency of government organizations is far from an exact science. As a result, corruption is notoriously difficult to quantify, and empirical economic study on the topic is limited.

Despite the fact that redistribution is common, Poverty and/or inequality are used as a guiding purpose in the construction of tax systems in industrialized nations. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) World Social Science Report in 2016, global inequality between country averages has declined in recent decades. Nonetheless, it remains at a very high level.  In the Least Developed Countries (LDC), questions of inequality have always been of secondary relevance, at most. Reforms in the financial sector Even when inequality is addressed, the effects of poverty are frequently overlooked and neglected.

Pinpointing where social services are most needed and guaranteeing that social protection programs are evidence-based and inclusive, given the millions of lives at risk. Local governments should be involved in both consultation and implementation, solutions like holistic anti-poverty programs and timely assessments are more likely to be successful. Because governments may be scale and sustainability actors, it can promote resilience for low-income individuals on a far bigger scale by integrating economic inclusion into existing social protection programs with governments at the helm.

This year, the country will embark on new terms of government that can make or break a significant difference. Therefore, the public should vote for the betterment of the economy and the needs of the people. The next administration should offer a practical and efficient answer, not merely a pledge to get the public's attention. Poverty alleviation is a Herculean task. For change to occur, everyone should be engaged to contribute. If there’s a new year’s resolution that everybody wants for the Philippines it is good governance, leadership, and a real solution that can end generations of poverty