Communicating poverty : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Philosophy, major in Development Studies at Massey University

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Massey University
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Poverty is a major problem in the Philippines. Different policies and programs have been instituted to address it. Each administration designs its own program according to its definition of poverty and this serve as historical footnotes to their administration. Communication is used as a strategy to generate awareness and secure people's acceptance of poverty policies and programs. However, it has been used as a political tool to enhance an administration's image. More open forms of communication need to be developed to avoid political patronage. The study examined the poverty alleviation policies and programs of the government and attempted to gain a deeper understanding of how these were implemented. Subsequently, it assessed the role communication plays in the delivery of these programs. The research yielded a wealth of data that links poverty, communication and programs. The study reveals that people's conditions affect their capacity to gather and receive information. In their dire conditions their information needs revolve around their wellbeing, livelihood and security. Likewise, the poor rely on handed-down information and search for other forms of communication such as mass media to confirm the information. The nature of communication remains top-down despite the democratic setting, as barriers prevent unfavourable information to reach the top. The sifting of information takes place, filtering out failures of programs, which may in turn affect the image of the Presidency or the administration. The free flow of information has yet to truly manifest character. The study identified several strategies to implement this. Interpersonal communication is one of the best methods and tapping the local officials to serve as the conveyor of information, can be maximised. Several trends regarding poverty as well as communication have surfaced in the last few years. It could be summarised that the poor people's participation in the crafting of programs that affect their lives is an important aspect. It is therefore paramount to establish linkages and open communication lines between them and the government.
Community development, Social conditions, Philippines, Poverty