PHL makes ‘progress’ on safety nets led by CCT, health — ADB

Published by rudy Date posted on November 8, 2016

Businessworld, November 08, 2016

THE Philippines has made “progress” in upgrading its social safety nets, particularly for the poor and the elderly, led by key programs such as Conditional Cash Transfers and expanded health insurance coverage, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

The bank cited the country’s Social Protection Expenditure (SPE) of 2.6% of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in 2012, up from 2.5% in 2009, and counted the Philippines among a group of countries that have significantly upgraded spending to protect vulnerable citizens.

The Philippines, classified as a lower middle income economy, and low-income economies such as Cambodia and Nepal made significant progress in spending on social protection, while China, Mongolia and Vietnam made appreciable improvements.

According to ADB, average social protection spending among Asian economies was 3.7% of GDP per capita.

Social insurance in Asia and the Pacific accounted for the biggest share at about three fourths of total SPE made by governments in the region.

Social assistance on the other hand, accounted for only 0.9% of GDP per capita, while labor market programs account for only 0.1%.

The Philippines performed well in terms of social assistance and social insurance results, ADB reported.

“The Philippines is noteworthy for having made progress on both social assistance and social insurance between 2005 and 2012. The country’s SPI (social protection indicator) for social assistance increased from only 0.1% of GDP per capita to 0.4%. This advance was due largely to the expansion of conditional cash transfers targeted at improving the health, nutrition, and education of children. In 2012, this program reached about 14 million beneficiaries.”

The SPI is the ratio of total expenditures on social protection and the total potential beneficiaries in comparison to GDP, which shows the effectiveness of social protection in a particular nation.

The Philippines’ SPI has improved steadily over time to 2.2% in 2012 from 1.4% in 2005.

The improvement is reflected in efforts of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to expand health insurance coverage, increasing its members and providing more affordable health care services through the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

The report analyzed data on government social protection programs in 35 countries in the Asia-Pacific.

Discussing the region as a whole, the ADB noted that “existing social insurance schemes in the region mostly support employees in the formal sector, yet the majority of the population in most Asian developing countries is not covered by social insurance, which provides protection against sickness, unemployment, disability, and old age. Instead, social assistance is the main instrument that supports poor and vulnerable people in most middle- and low-income countries of Asia.” — Jumaine Christene V. Doctolero

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