‘Slow improvement in PH quality of life’

Published by rudy Date posted on March 25, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ progress in improving the quality of Filipinos’ lives has been slow as indicated in its Human Development Index (HDI) score, and performance in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In a statement on Monday, March 25, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that while the country’s HDI score was “relatively higher” than those of other ASEAN countries, its improvement was slow over the past 30 years.

In terms of MDGs, the NEDA said the Philippines still needs to work on 5 other goals made up of 13 indicators before the 2015 deadline. The country was an early achiever in 3 of the 8 goals made up of 9 of the 22 indicators.

“The government will continue to double its efforts in ensuring human development in the country through programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the National Health Insurance Program (Philhealth), and other pro-poor initiatives of the Aquino Administration,” NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said.

Human development

Balisacan said the 2013 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme ranked the Philippines 114th among 187 countries, with a medium HDI of 0.654 as of 2012.

He said the Philippines’ HDI was higher than Indonesia’s 0.629, Vietnam’s 0.617, Cambodia’s 0.543, Lao PDR’s 0.543, and Myanmar’s 0.498. It was lower than Thailand’s 0.690 and Malaysia’s 0.769.

The NEDA said the pace of improvement in the country’s HDI over the past 3 decades was slower than in most major East Asian neighbors particularly Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

HDI is a composite index of health (i.e., life expectancy), education (i.e., mean years of schooling), and income (i.e., gross national income per capita).

MDGs by 2015

Balisacan said the Philippines attained 3 of the 8 MDGs way before the 2015 target.

Overall, the Philippines fared better in comparison with ASEAN neighbors such as Timor Leste, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

“The 2013 Human Development Report and the 2012 MDGs Regional Report supports the claim that our country is not Asia’s worst performer in those areas,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

On the MDG on women empowerment, he said the country succeeded in realizing gender equality in primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Balisacan added the Philippines was successful in reducing the prevalence of malaria and tuberculosis, while reversing or halting the spread of HIV/AIDS remains a challenge. The MDG target for tuberculosis incidence was already met, while the target on tuberculosis prevalence is well within reach.

The country also reportedly achieved indicators on forest cover, protected areas, carbon-dioxide emissions and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, which include chloro-flouro carbons.

Also, under-5 mortality dropped to 30 deaths per 1,000 lives in 2011 from 80 in 1990. The country also surpassed the target on access to sanitary toilet facilities as percentage of families with access to sanitary toilet facilities reached 92.5% as of end-2010, surpassing the 2015 target of 83.8%.

“While the report cited the Philippines as lagging on other MDGs, official statistics show that we are likely to meet the targets on food poverty, child mortality, and access to safe drinking water and sanitary toilet facilities by 2015,” said Balisacan. –Cai Ordinario, Rappler.com

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