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Statements
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations


Presentation made
by
Mr. Meynardo LB. Montealegre, Minister, Philippine Mission to the United Nations

at the Retreat Session
organized by the Permanent Mission of the Republic
of Indonesia to the United Nations

on the “Implementation of the Jakarata Declaration: Addressing Unemployment Issue in Asia and the Pacific Region”
Doral Arrowwood, Weschester, New York, 18 February 2006

 

Significant measures have been undertaken by the Philippine Government to address poverty eradication. The Philippines recognizes the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as means to productive life, economic growth, and further development. The Philippine Government reaffirms this commitment and has therefore directed its strategies towards achieving the MDG’s by mainstreaming them into the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), 2004-2010.

The attainment of the MDG’s are reflected in the 10-point Program of Action of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that aims to improve the economy, uplift the lives of the Filipinos, strengthen democracy and forge peace and national solidarity. They have been incorporated into the MTPDP, focusing on the promotion of livelihood, strengthening of education, attainment of fiscal stability, decentralization of development, and arriving at sustained national harmony.


The 10-Point Pro-Poor Agenda

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s pro-poor development agenda is clearly manifested in her 10-point Program of Action. The Program of Action includes: generation of six to 10 million jobs within the period of six years; increasing access to quality education; provision of electricity and water to all local communities or “barangays”; housing, health care and proper nutrition; and efficient delivery of social services, among others.

The implementation of the 10-point Agenda has so far generated encouraging results.

First, the Philippine Government has generated 1.99 million jobs from January to September 2005. These jobs were generated through the following programs and initiatives:

  • Developed new lands for agribusiness – Generated at least 234,910 new jobs from January to September 2005 by developing 138,862 hectares of new agricultural lands and linking them with corresponding markets in all regions.
  • Increased in viability of micro-, small- and medium-enterprise through credit technology and marketing support. It strengthened the capacity of the poor to engage in productive enterprises through microfinance and business development services resulting in job generation. The livelihood/employment needs of the microfinance clients are addressed through employment generation, capital assistance, technical/skills training, production technology development and market linkages.
  • Improvement of the business climate – The implementation of the expanded Value Added Tax (VAT), as well as the lowering of interest rates by the Central Bank of the Philippines, has contributed to the improvement of the business climate in the country. The added revenues for the government have prompted international rating agencies to upgrade the fiscal outlook for the Philippines.
  • Tourism – Tourism promotion being intensified in focused areas and air liberalization being pursued to increase tourist arrivals that would create 3 million jobs. Increased inbound tourists through aggressive tourist promotions, particularly in China, translate into new jobs. From January to October 2005, a total of 308,294 new jobs were created during the period.
  • Information and communication technology – By promoting ICT and improving the ICT-environment, it is expected to generate one million new workers in the ICT sector from 2005-2010. A total of 41,000 jobs were generated from January to May 2005 from ICT-related services such as business process outsourcing (e.g. customer care, accounting, database management), medical transcription, animation and software development. To attract foreign investors engaged in business process outsourcing, the Government’s Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority have been giving incentives to foreign companies operating backroom and contract center companies in the country.
  • Housing Program – Housing and its related enterprises are expected to generate one million new jobs by 2010 through the Strong Republic Housing Program and measures to facilitate private sector financing. From January to September 2005, there were 52,805 housing units constructed and 404,080 jobs that were created.
  • Infrastructure projects – From January to September 2005, there were about 74,900 people that were hired in public construction and maintenance. These included community-based workers hired in the construction of government projects by contractors.
  • Economic zones – Enterprises in the economic zones provide employment opportunities. From January to October 2005, there were 102,484 jobs generated in the Philippine Economic Zone Area, 34,373 jobs in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority area and 9,676 jobs in the Clark Special Economic zone. The jobs included direct and indirect employment by providing inputs and services to economic zone export-producers and service exporters (e.g. subcontractors, brokers, cargo handlers, canteen/restaurants, banks and maintenance services).
  • Apprenticeship program – The absorption of apprentices into the regular workforce is being facilitated by giving opportunities for beginners to earn while undergoing training.


Second, in line with the thrust of the Government to increase access to quality education especially for the poor, the Arroyo Administration included ‘Education for All’ in its 10-point agenda. This involves the construction of more school buildings, the provision of scholarships to poor families and distribution of computers for every public secondary school.

Third, the Government aims to attain 100% community-level electrification by 2008 through the provision of electricity to the remaining un-energized local communities or ‘barangays’ by the end of 2004 and provision of potable water to all waterless areas by 2010. Electricity was provided to 1,333 barangays from January 2004 to October 2005 under the Expanded Rural Electrification Program, bringing the total number of energized barangays to 39,081 out of 41,945 barangays and attaining 93.17% barangay-level electrification. Water services were provided to 26 out of the 210 waterless areas in Metro Manila through the metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) concessionaires benefiting 18,729 households.

Fourth, a total of 144,208 hectares of private and public land were distributed from January to September 2005, while 38 certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT’s) covering 835,165 hectares have been distributed or approved from July 2002 to November 2005.

Fifth, about 27,360 informal settlers were given security of tenure through Presidential Proclamations declaring public lands as alienable and disposable for housing purposes. Socialized housing services were provided to 30,023 households belonging to the bottom of 30% of the income population from September 2004 to September 2005 bringing the total to 252,258 since 2001.

Sixth, to provide quality healthcare, there were 371,000 poor families or 1.9 million poor Filipinos that were enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program. The Government expanded the access of the poor to half-priced medicines by establishing more than 4,000 local pharmacy outlets nationwide.

Seventh, through the concerted efforts of concerned agencies, access to low-priced, quality rice has been provided to Filipinos, especially the poor families. There were 76 stores that were established in 15 hotspot areas in Metro Manila.

Eighth, the Government launched the Enhanced Food for Work Program (EFWP) to address the basic food and socio-economic needs of the poor, and to let them become self-sufficient by providing them access to employment and livelihood opportunities for a suitable family income.

Ninth, under the Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS), 785 sub-projects were completed and made operational out of the 1,499 sub-projects, amounting to P1.7 billion. The remaining projects are expected to be completed by second quarter of 2006.

Tenth, the Government continues to pursue national reconciliation and harmony with all sectors of the society.

Achievement of the MDGs in the Philippines

The Second Philippine Progress Report on the attainment of the MDG’s has been completed. It provides an update on how the country and its different regions are faring in the MDG targets. The Second Report shows that the Philippines will likely achieve the targets on reducing extreme poverty, child mortality, and incidence of tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS as well as improving dietary requirement, gender equality in education and access to safe drinking water.

A latest survey of the Filipino families indicate that poverty incidence has dropped by almost three percent from 27.5% in 2000 to 24.7% in 2003 as earnings rose in all income levels.


Challenges

While progress has been achieved in some areas, there are challenges that remain to be addressed in order to eliminate poverty. The Philippine Government specifically the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has identified the following targets in support of the 10-point Agenda:

  • Bring down the incidence of poverty to 17% by 2010;
  • Aim for sustainable growth of 7% (or at least 6 percent) which shall enable the economy to generate 10 million jobs in six (6) years;
  • Bring investments to 28% of GDP in two years (at least 25% by 2010) from the current rate of 19% of GDP; and
  • Increase exports to $50 billion in two years.

To achieve these targets, the Philippine Government has laid out five (5) main strategies, namely:

  • Stabilizing the economy and promoting higher economic growth by reducing public sector deficit and strengthening the financial system;
  • Generating jobs through more globally competitive agriculture, industry and service sectors;
  • Improving the provision of social services and protecting vulnerable groups; and
  • Improving governance and promoting national harmony.

With the 10-point Program of Action, the 2010 targets in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan are aligned and consistent with the MDG targets by 2015. Nevertheless, the MTPDP’s pro-poor strategies require strong investment spending that would contribute to an environment favorable to the fulfillment of the MDG’s. They also need to build on the gains and opportunities offered by continued and evolving partnerships among various stakeholders, including the business sector.









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