President Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected into office in 1998 with an overwhelming mandate under the lavishly expansive, catchy, and ubiquitous campaign slogan that subsequently became his administration’s mantra, Erap para sa mahihirap.

Announcing poverty eradication as his administration’s primary goal and adopting anti-poverty programs as the centerpiece of Angat Pinoy, his administration’s medium-term development plan, he claimed in sorties throughout the country (not theleast of which were to squatter communities during the turbulent months leading to his impeachment trial) that his heart was always with and for the poor. The question then that begs to be asked at this time, just barely a month after President Estrada was deposed, is, How did the country—and the poor in particular—fare during Erap’s term in office?

This paper seeks to answer the question by generating and analyzing
estimates of measures of welfare, inequality, and poverty for the first
two years of the Estrada administration, using data drawn from the
Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) of 1998 and 1999 of the
National Statistics Office (NSO). It finds that while the national
average living standard improved slightly in 1999 compared to 1998, the
were unable to show measurable gains in inequality and poverty.

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