What Are Some Economic Problems in the Philippines?

Economic problems in the Philippines include high unemployment and the concentration of wealth in a small number of wealthy families. Although the Philippine economy grew substantially in the early 2010s, lingering poverty remains another economic problem in the country.

Many children live in poverty in the Philippines, often lacking adequate shelter and clothing. Impoverished children often live with their parents in bamboo huts that lack adequate stability and structure. More than 99 million Filipinos lived on less than $5,000 a year.

Critics say that concentrated wealth in the hands of a few rich Filipinos prevents the majority of the population from sharing in rapid economic growth. Because the wealthy own a great portion of the country’s land, farmland is expensive. The Filipino government relies largely on taxes collected from nationals living abroad. This tax structure resulted in a nationwide revenue problem during the worldwide recession of the early 2000s, because nationals living abroad earn less money and as a result, pay fewer taxes.

Another economic problem in the Philippines is lingering government corruption. Because foreign nations see the Filipino government as untrustworthy, foreign nations and businesses hesitate to invest capital in the country. For this reason, infrastructure does not develop fast enough to keep pace with the growing population. What growth occurred in recent years came in the real estate and gambling industries, which do not produce long-term, middle-class jobs.