China mulls poverty alleviation projects in PHL

China is conducting feasibility studies for poverty alleviation projects that its government will set up in the Philippines, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) announced on Wednesday.

“It would be part of the assistance package the Chinese government will provide to the Philippines,” NAPC Lead Convenor Secretary Liza Maza said in a press conference during opening of the 12th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

She said the poverty alleviation projects would be in the form of grant which will be determined after the feasibility studies that the Chinese experts have been conducting since late last year.

“They (Chinese) want to see what are the possible areas where they want to put up the poverty alleviation projects,” Maza said

She said the projects are expected to be set up in rural areas with high incidence of poverty.

“They said they can offer their poverty alleviation expertise in the rural areas. They can share their knowledge to us,” Maza said.

The Chinese experts, she said, have so far visited several rural and urban poor communities in Bulacan and some parts of Metro Manila.

Maza said the Philippines can learn a lot from China’s successful poverty alleviation program which lifted over 700 million Chinese people out over poverty for the last 30 years.

“We’ve learned that their case of development was really anchored in land reform and industrialization. That is the lesson we can learn from them,” Maza said.

For his part, Acting Director General Tan Weiping of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) said China is happy to share its experiences in poverty reduction.

“We are still in the discussion of the project but we are happy to share our experiences in poverty reduction,” Tan said.

Maza said the memorandum of agreement on the implementation of the poverty reduction projects is expected to be signed within the year.

She said the Philippines can also learn from experiences and best practices of its Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) neighbors’ poverty reduction programs.

“Our dole outs like 4Ps are not enough. We have to look for other ways to address poverty and this (12th ASEAN-China Forum) is an opportunity for us to learn best practices from our neighbors,” Maza said.

Over 120 government officials, experts, scholars, civil society officials and international organizations have gathered to attend the ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction slated from June 27 to 29.

The forum aims to discuss new measures in addressing the poverty situation within the region through sharing of best practices.

It further aims to deepen regional cooperation for inclusive development and poverty reduction to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Aside from the Philippines, ASEAN members include: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia. PNA