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Philippines on track to cut poverty in half by 2015, economists say

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Leading financial figures in the Philippines promised on Friday that the government was on track to growing its economy to the point of halving the nation's poverty, by 2015.

That's a sizeable prediction. Almost 28 percent of the country's 97 million residents live below the poverty line, The Associated Press reported. Government economists say they can bring that figure to 16.6 percent in just a couple of years.

The government forecasts economic growth of almost 7 percent for the rest of this year, AP reported. And it's not changing that prediction.

The numbers are being examined, but experts still see that growth pattern as a "reasonable assumption," said socioeconomic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan, in AP.

The key to achieving the poverty-reduction goal, he said, was for the government to prioritize: Job creation first, housing issues second, and cash payouts to poor, third. The country provides cash to poverty-level families with children as long as the children stay in school and make regular visits to doctors, AP reported.

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