September 16, 2019
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 In Income Inequality

Country: Philippines
Delegate Name: Abigail Eyke

Income inequality restrains economic and social mobility and growth while repressing marginalized groups. The degree of income inequality is called the Gini Coefficient, where 0 represents perfect equality and 1 represents perfect inequality. Inequality is the result of government policies that create gaps in equity across regions, age, gender, race, ethnicity, migrant status, and disability status. Barriers to raising income inequality include lack of education and labor rights with an abundance of free market practices. However income inequality can be reduced in various ways including education policy, labor rights, market regulations, tax codes and more. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 centers around reducing inequality within and among countries by 2030. One of its goals is to progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 30 percent of the population at a rate higher than the national average. It aims to achieve this goal by adopting primarily fiscal policies, wage and social protection policies. However, according to the World Bank, it is unlikely we will meet this goal by 2030 due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

While many countries faced an increase in income equality at an even faster rate during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Bank and the Gini Index the Philippines reported the largest increase in income inequality during the pandemic. The pandemic pushed millions of Philippine citizens into poverty, further exacerbating income inequality, the food crisis, and political upheaval. Due to the pandemic, the country is deeply in debt, unemployment is high, inflation is rising, and there is food insecurity.

The current president Bongbong Marcos plans to address these concerns by creating business, agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure jobs to help alleviate income inequality. In prioritizing smaller enterprises, Marcos will increase jobs and lower unemployment. Marking the tourism industry as key to economic growth and post-post pandemic recovery. To improve labor rights, Marcos plans on passing legislation to improve business conditions and attract more foreign investments primarily from Japan and the United States, the Philippines largest trading partners, making U.S. support invaluable. According to the president’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, the key to reducing income inequality is better education, better healthcare, social safety nets, and higher and broader economic growth primarily in agriculture to transition the Philippines into a more agriculturally independent country. Along with continuing past programs and legislation that benefits the lower income population, the president plans on building up infrastructure and increasing tourism to increase GDP and trade with other countries.

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