PH notches marginal gains in UN human development report, inches up to 115 of 188 rank

Published by rudy Date posted on January 20, 2016

MANILA – The Philippines made marginal gains in the United Nations Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 as deep structural issues prevent the country from making substantial improvements in improving access to knowledge, life expectancy, and the standard of living of Filipinos.

From a Human Development Index value of .664 in 2013, the Philippines chalked up .668 in 2014 to rank 115 out of 188 countries. The country’s .668 HDI value is above the average of .630 for countries in the medium development group but below the average of .710 for countries in East Asia and the Pacific.

Socioeconomic secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the country needs to consistently build on its economic gains to make substantial improvements in human development.

“We need to create more factories, more plants, more equipment, and infrastructure, so it is a long-term process. We can’t address this overnight but we have to sustain the efforts we have,” Balisacan said.

“The challenge for us is to get labor from low-productivity areas or sectors of the economy to high-productivity sectors and that would require a lot of things like adjusting education, building a lot of skills and also infrastructure, and matching the demands of the industry with what the schools or university are producing,” Balisacan said.

In addition, Balisacan also noted the problem of addressing maternal mortality and school dropout rates.

According to the UN HDR, the country’s life expectancy at birth per 100,000 live births is at 120, almost five times higher than neighbor Thailand’s 26 and the average of 72 in the East Asia and the Pacific. The Philippines has 11.3 expected years of schooling, below the 13.5 of Thailand and 12.7 in the East Asia and the Pacific.

“We need to deepen our reforms,” Balisacan said. “We need to pursue more investments, more infrastructure.”

The 2015 HDR was titled “Work for Human Development” and focused on the challenge of ensuring quality job creation to all as a key pillar of human development. Though technological growth and deepening globalization has provided opportunities, it has also presented a host of opportunities, such as widening inequalities.

The report urges governments to enact strategic investments in education and health care to pave the way for work that will help improve the quality of life.

“There has never been a better time to be a highly skilled worker, there has never been a worst time to be a worker without skill,” Selim Jahan, director of the UN Human Development Report Office said. “What we have tried to emphasize is that in order to enhance human development through work, we need strategic policy options, and we also need an action agenda.” –Jose Bimbo F. Santos,

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