Poverty incidence in the Philippines eased to 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 from 26.3 percent in 2009, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said Monday. The NSCB said in a press briefing that among Filipino families, poverty incidence also declined to 19.7 percent last year from 20. 5 percent in 2009. The National Economic and Development Authority attributed the slight improvement in poverty incidence to the government's social programs such as the conditional cash transfer scheme. While there has been improvement in poverty incidence, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the rate of decline is slow. Balisacan said sustained high economic growth is needed to enable the Philippines to reduce poverty faster especially in rural areas. The government must focus on disaster risk reduction and mitigation and the provision of social insurance protection to insulate people in vulnerable areas from the impact of natural disasters, he said. Despite the slow pace of improvement in reducing poverty, the Philippine government remains confident of slashing poverty incidence to 17.2 percent by 2015 to meet the Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction.