Saw this article shared on Facebook. I thought it was a relevant piece with respect to a work I am currently doing, relating transport infrastructure and services with economic growth in the Philippines. With the release of the latest poverty statistics in the country late last month, there has been a lot of discussions regarding inclusive growth as poverty incidence across the country is still quite high though there have been gains in many provinces based on the statistics.
I suddenly remember the experience we had while doing field work in the island of Samar where we performed a road safety audit for a national road. While coordinating with the barangays along the highway for our traffic surveys, we observed that people were generally poor but in the financial sense – they didn’t have money and many didn’t have regular jobs. I say this because I would like to qualify the way we define poverty that is biased on the monetary aspect. From what we saw, people were not hungry as they had food like fruits and vegetables. Perhaps to get other items, they trade or barter what they have with what they needed (e.g., vegetables for rice, fish for rice, etc.). Still, the point is for these same people to generally benefit from the economic gains that is supposed to be experienced by the country. Is the growth trickling down to these people and therefore inclusive? Or is it enjoyed only by a few and especially our elite classes, and therefore exclusive? So far, what I have seen out there is the latter case and not the former.