Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Written for The Diplomat

The government of Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. this week submitted a record 5.268 trillion pesos ($94 billion) 2023 budget to the House of Representatives. This is the highest-ever spending proposal sent to Congress.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman described the proposed bill as “proactive and resilient… designed to withstand future risks, challenges, and shocks.” She added that the budget reflects priority sectors of the Marcos government which include education, infrastructure development, health, agriculture, and social safety nets.

Independent think-tank Ibon Foundation summed up the weaknesses of the first budget bill of the Marcos government: “Import-dependent infrastructure, debt interest payments, and security forces are given far more importance than education, health, social welfare, farmers, and labor.

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Making Sense of the Philippines’ Latest Poverty Statistics

Written for The Diplomat

More Filipinos are poorer today compared to 2018, according to the latest official data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Citing its Family Income and Expenditure Survey, the PSA said the country has 19.99 million individuals living below the poverty threshold. This represents 18.1 percent of the population. In 2018, there were 17.67 million poor Filipinos. Meanwhile, the number of “food-poor” individuals increased by 1.01 million. The PSA also reported a 7.8 percent unemployment rate, which is equivalent to 3.71 million jobless Filipinos.

The poverty situation could be worse because the PSA survey was done in 2021, and its poverty threshold is considered unrealistic by other experts. Converted into U.S. dollars, a person belonging to a family of five members only needs to earn $1.41 per day in order to survive and meet his or her daily food requirements, according to the Philippine government.

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