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HARSH REALITIES: PHILIPPINE DECLINE IN U.N. RANKINGS (Last of Two Parts)


 

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“FAILURE:  PHILIPPINES MISSES NEARLY ALL 8 MDG TARGETS” – “While the world has surged dramatically in terms of saving lives and improving the condition of billions, the Philippines has missed nearly all of the major targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  This is arguably the biggest failure of governance by any major country (with a population of 50 – 100 million) anywhere in the world….”  – Antonio Lopez, BizNews Asia(04 August 2014)

 

In last week’s installment, we reported the continued decline of the Philippines from # 114 in 2012 to # 117 in 2013 in the United Nations’ Human Development Index.  This UNHD Index should be seen as a country’s development scorecard for the year similar to a college student’s report card at school end – which is highly-prized, as proof of one’s competence, competitiveness, and capacity for higher achievements. 

IT WILL BE RECALLED THAT THE UNHD REPORT IS A WELL-KNOWN SERIES OF MEASUREMENTS OF THE “QUALITY OF LIFE” AND HAS TO DO WITH GOVERNANCE, SECURITY, HEALTH, NUTRITION, LONGEVITY, HOUSING, BASIC EDUCATION, LITERACY, ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, POTABLE WATER, JOBS/LIVELIHOOD, PER CAPITA INCOME, ELECTRIC POWER SUPPLY, TRANSPORTATION/COMMUNICATIONS ACCESS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, AND OTHER SOCIO-ECONOMIC-POLITICAL PARAMETERS – IN SUM, HUMANKIND’S “QUALITY OF LIFE” WHERE PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT IS THE CRITICAL UNIVERSAL NORM, IN ACCORDANCE WITH MODERN, 21ST CENTURY STANDARDS.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE U.N. MDGs ARE THE WORLD'S TIME-BOUND AND QUANTIFIED TARGETS FOR ADDRESSING HUMAN DEPRIVATION IN ITS MANY DIMENSIONS – POVERTY, HUNGER, DISEASE, AND EXCLUSION – WHILE AT THE SAME TIME PROMOTING HEALTH, GENDER EQUALITY, EDUCATION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.  THESE ARE ALSO THE BASIC RIGHTS OF HUMANS IN TERMS OF SECURITY, LONGEVITY, AND LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES.

When dozens of countries and billions of people move up the development ladder – as they are doing today – these have a direct, positive impact on people’s quality of life because of the alleviation of poverty and the creation of progressive wealth among ordinary people.

Is Libya Better Than The Philippines?

Despite its difficulties today, Libya ranks #55 in the 2014 UNHD Report (within the High Human Development bracket) – even better than the Russian Federation (#57), Malaysia (#62), Turkey (#69), Brazil (#78), and Thailand (#89).  This year’s ranking was based on 2013 data gathered at a time when Libya’s long-time despot, Muammar Ghaddafi, no longer ruled because he was slain by an enraged mob of Libyan civilians near his ancestral home in the Sirte desert in October 2011.  Because of strongman Ghaddafi’s reforms in most UNHD parameters, however, Libya ranks much higher than the Philippines today.  The great majority of our remaining 11,000 OFWs in that African country apparently believe this to be true about Libya.

ALSO, CONSIDER THESE RECENT REPORTS:  “BETTER IN LIBYA THAN PH” – “OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS IN LIBYA PREFER TO STAY IN THAT STRIFE-TORN NORTH AFRICAN COUNTRY BECAUSE THEY HAVE ‘BETTER CHANCES OF SURVIVING’ THERE THAN IN THE PHILIPPINES, THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTED….” – Associated Press/Agence France Presse(5 August).

OFWs TAKE RISKS IN LIBYA” –  “NOTWITHSTANDING VIOLENT UNREST IN LIBYA, SOME 11,000 OFWs WOULD RATHER RISK DANGER IN THAT CONFLICT-TORN COUNTRY RATHER THAN FACE UNCERTAINTY OF HAVING NO JOBS AT HOME….” – Manila Bulletin(05 August).

It therefore seems to many that this reported refusal of OFWs to abandon their risky jobs in Libya amid its fratricidal civil war constitutes a disappointing commentary on our Philippine job situation and a slap on the Aquino III Administration’s performance.

Bloody Libya; Ghaddafi’s Last Days

In a previous Manila Bulletin article, “The Middle East, North Africa, and EDSA-25th,” FVR wrote (27 February 2011):  

 “The bloody crackdowns resulting in violence and cabinet defections in Libya and neighboring countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) turned out to be a powerful message to the Filipino people for us to better appreciate our peaceful 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution – according to some participants in the 25th EDSA Anniversary celebration.

“During the 25th commemoration of our non-violent EDSA People Power Revolution of February 1986, above-cited candid observations were overheard from various military and civilian participants.  To Filipinos, these are valid lessons learned, and we should therefore gain some wisdom from today’s bloody MENA uprisings, particularly in applying best practices learned from our 1986 and 2001 experiences.

Last 04 September 2011, FVR also wrote:  “After capturing Tripoli, the rebels fought their way to Sirte, Ghaddafi’s last stronghold which was an Ottoman fortress in the 1840s, with no resident population.  The discovery of oil therein after WWII with Ghaddafi’s birthplace nearby accounted for Sirte’s rise to prominence.  After seizing power in 1969, Ghaddafi transformed Sirte into a showcase of African progress, carrying out extensive public works programs to expand it into a modern city.”

After 1988, most government departments and the Parliament were relocated to Sirte, although Tripoli remained as Libya’s capital.  In 1999, Ghaddafi proposed Sirte as the administrative center of a “United States of Africa.”

The U.N. Millennium Development Goals

The MDGs are international development goals that were established following the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000.  All 189 U.N. member-states at that time committed to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

In June 2005, to accelerate progress, the G8 nations agreed to provide enough funds to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund   and the African Development Bank to cancel $40 to $55 billion in debt owed by members of the “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” to allow them to redirect resources to programs for improving health and education, and alleviating poverty.

The MDGs emphasized three areas:  human capital, human rights, and infrastructure with the intent of improving living standards.  Human capital objectives include education, nutrition, and healthcare (child mortality, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and reproductive health). 

Human rights objectives include empowering women, reducing violence, increasing political voice, equal access to public services, and security of property rights.  These goals were intended to increase an individual’s human capabilities and "advance the means to a productive life.”

Infrastructure objectives include access to potable water; energy and modern information/communication technology; increased farm outputs; transportation; and sustainable environment. 

The BizNews AsiaReport

As if to provide further solid evidence to the harsh realities of today’s Philippine condition comes more bad news from senior journalist Tony Lopez and other credible sources.

Continues Tony Lopez, publisher of BizNews Asia“As a country, the Philippines is the world’s 12th largest, with a population of 100 million.  As a consumer market, the Philippines is also the 12th largest.  Filipinos have a per capita income of $3,323, more than double what it was ten years ago ($1,346 in 2004).  The savings rate is high, 29.4% of GDP, or P4.1 trillion savings out of P14.0 trillion outputs of goods and services annually.  Filipinos are English-speaking, highly literate, creative and productive.

“According to the Philippine progress report on the MDG, the Philippines has already missed the following targets:

“Goal 1:  Halve extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015.  FAILED.

“Goal 2:  Ensure universal primary education. All kids must be able to finish primary school.  FAILED.

“Goal 3:  Promote gender equality and empower women.  FAILED.

“Goal 4:  Reduce child mortality.  FAILED.

“Goal 5:  Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, number of mothers dying while giving birth.  FAILED.

“Goal 6:  Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.  FAILED ON TUBERCULOSIS.  PASSING ON MALARIA.

“Goal 7:  Ensure environmental sustainability by integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs to reverse the loss of environmental resources.  FAILED.

“Goal 8:  Develop a global partnership for development.  VERY GOOD.”

Symptoms Of Other Philippine Dysfunctions And Disunity

AQUINO SHOULD GO, BISHOP SAYS– “BISHOP BRODERICK PABILLIO, CHAIRMAN OF THE EPISCOPAL COMMISSION ON SOCIAL ACTION OF THE CBCP AND AUXILIARY BISHOP OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF MANILA, SAID MANY FILIPINOS WANT TO REPLACE AQUINO AND ELECT A NEW LEADER.  HE POINTED OUT THAT LAWMAKERS WHO BENEFITED FROM THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION ARE BEHIND THE ONLINE CAMPAIGN THAT SEEKS ONE MORE TERM FOR THE PRESIDENT.  PABILLIO BELIEVES THAT MALACAÑANG OFFICIALS ARE BEHIND THE CAMPAIGN….” – The Manila Times(06 August).

 “A CONGRESS NOBODY TRUSTS–  “THE PUBLIC’S DISDAIN FOR CONGRESS SHOWED IN THE TRUST RATINGS GIVEN TO BOTH CHAMBERS IN PULSE ASIA SURVEYS CONDUCTED FROM 24 JUNE TO 02 JULY.  PEOPLE’S TRUST IN THE SENATE NOSEDIVED 11 PERCENTAGE POINTS TO 31%, WHILE TRUST IN THE HOUSE FELL 10 PERCENTAGE POINTS TO A DISMAL 29%....”      – Manila Standard Today(06 August).

SERENO LECTURES BELMONTE; CHIEF JUSTICE JUSTIFIES SNUB OF JDF PROBE– “CHIEF JUSTICE MARIA LOURDES SERENO SENT A STRONGLY WORDED LETTER TO HOUSE SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE JR. AND LECTURED HIM ON PROTOCOL, COURTESY TO A CO-EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE, AND FISCAL AUTONOMY OF THE COURTS RE THE JUDICIAL DEVELOPMENT FUND….” – Manila Bulletin(06 August).

THE PHILIPPINE REPORT CARD

CONCLUDES BIZNEWS ASIA: “SO WHERE DID THE PHILIPPINES FAIL?   IN GOVERNANCE. 

“THE PHILIPPINES CANNOT LICK ITS NAGGING POVERTY, CANNOT SOLVE THE HUNGER OF ITS PEOPLE, CANNOT SEND ALL ITS ELEMENTARY-AGE CHILDREN TO SCHOOL, CANNOT MAKE ALL THE SAME KIDS FINISH EVEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, CANNOT SAVE THE 3,225 BABIES BELOW AGE FIVE WHO DIE EACH YEAR, NOR THE 2,100 MOTHERS WHO DIE EACH YEAR WHILE GIVING BIRTH. 

“NO MOTHER SHOULD DIE WHILE GIVING BIRTH.  AND NO CHILD BELOW FIVE SHOULD DIE.  THIS IS GENOCIDE….”

AVAILABLE RECORDS OF THE UNITED NATIONS SHOW THE PREVIOUS YEARS’ COMPARATIVE RANKINGS OF THE PHILIPPINES IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.  UNFORTUNATELY, THESE PROVE DECLINING PERFORMANCE – WHICH TRANSLATES TO POORER AND POORER FILIPINO “QUALITY OF LIFE”:

Year                                 Philippine Rank                         No. of Nations Rated                         Percentile

2001                                 #  70                                         162 Sierra Leone                                       43.2%

2005                                    84                                          177 Niger                                                   47.5%

2008                                    90                                          177 Sierra Leone                                      50.9%

2010                                    97                                          169 Zimbabwe                                          57.4%

2011                                   112                                          187 Congo (DRC)                                    59.9%

2012                                   114                                          187 Congo (DRC)                                    60.1%

2013                                   117                                          187 Niger                                                 62.6%

THAT’S A DROP OF 47 SLOTS IN UNHD RANKINGS AND A DECLINE OF 19.4% IN COMPARATIVE PERCENTILES IN A PERIOD OF JUST 12 YEARS.

SAYANG(TOO BAD)!!

Please send any comments to fvr@rpdev.org.  Copies of articles are available at www.rpdev.org.

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