Philippines

“The universal and potentially 'transformative' character of the USPF has broad appeal to many rights-based advocates", explained Victoria Raquiza, convenor of Social Watch Philippines at the start of a debate convened by SWP and UNICEF in Manila, last April 26. “While acknowledging the strides made in social protection such as through the conditional cash transfer program (Pantawid Pamilya), PhilHealth and pensions for the elderly, social protection remains fragmented, inaccessible and unreachable to many Filipinos."

Speakers from the governmental Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Coalition of Services of the Elderly reacted to the propositions of UNIEF, the ILO and Social Watch Philippines.

Photo: A girl makes her way home
after fetching water at a coastal
village in Tacloban, Leyte province.
Photograph: Ezra Acayan/NurPhoto
/Rex

Three years after the typhoon destroyed more than a million homes and killed 6,000 people, the Philippines has fallen far short on house-building pledge.

When Typhoon Haiyan smashed into the city of Tacloban in the central Philippines almost three years ago, Arsenio was one of the lucky ones – he survived by swimming a kilometre to safety. “Every time there is a storm, I get scared, even after three years,” he said. “I don’t want to go through the same thing again.”

Three years after the typhoon destroyed more than a million homes and killed 6,000 people, the Philippines has fallen far short on house-building pledge.

MUCH is made of the public-private partnership (PPP). This is where the public and private sectors combine to produce outcomes which are favorable to the nation. In practice, this has meant Luzon-based transportation infrastructure projects. Visayas and Mindanao have been largely left out. President Duterte will change this. Which is partly why a whopping 62 percent of Mindanaoans voted for him. In a presidential contest where there were four highly supported candidates, this is a remarkable mandate.

Prof. Leonor Briones

Much is made of the public-private partnership (PPP). This is where the public and private sectors combine to produce outcomes which are favorable to the nation. In practice, this has meant Luzon-based transportation infrastructure projects. Visayas and Mindanao have been largely left out. President Duterte will change this. Which is partly why a whopping 62 percent of Mindanaoans voted for him. In a presidential contest where there were four highly supported candidates, this is a remarkable mandate.

While more than 26.3 percent or about 27 million Filipinos live in poverty, the benefits from growth are concentrated in the hands of few billionaire families, the less than 1 percent who dominate the political economy.  Tax injustice is imbedded in the system and unregulated corporate activities harm people and the environment. The Philippines can reduce inequality by changing the economic geography. We can reverse the big city-oriented development by supporting the provincial and local economies. We can do this by shifting from conventional, fossil fuel-intensive farming to organic and sustainable agriculture and by changing the pattern of public expenditure so that adequate resources, and authority, too, are deliberately transferred from the rich regions to the poorer ones.

Signing up to the promise of a Philippines where no one is left behind and following the path to sustainability, Social Watch Philippines (SWP), along with the CSO contributors from its network, presents on Friday our "Spotlight Report" on the 2030 Development Agenda in a dialogue with the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) at SEAMEO-Innotech, Quezon City.

This is in time for the presentation of the Philippine report to the first High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on July 11-20 at the UN Headquarters in New York. In consort with 22 other countries, the Philippines is expected to lead the national review and report on how the 2030 agenda will be translated into national sustainability plans.

The Philippine economic growth is unjust and not sustainable, as the nation's wealth is concentrated among few billionaires and highly dependent on fossil fuels, according to Social Watch Philippines.

"A just and sustainable growth ensures that no one is left behind," Isagani Serrano, SWP co-convenor and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement president, said on Friday.

The civil society group noted the Philippines can achieve its sustainable development goals by 2030 if the economic growth is not concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires.

In 2015, the Philippines joined the UN community in pledging to put an end to poverty in all of its forms and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030. That same year the Government also signed up to reducing vulnerability to risks from disasters (Sendai Framework), to contribute its share in averting climate catastrophe (Paris Agreement), and to ensuring that all these commitments get sufficiently financed (Addis Ababa Action Agenda). Ending poverty and achieving sustainable development are aspirations long overdue in realization. The challenge is how to realize these goals in 15 years after so many years of trying to deliver on virtually the same set of promises, and failing. If the Philippines is to deliver on the more ambitious 17 SDGs in 15 years when it could not fully deliver on the minimalist MDGs during the last 15 years, it needs to recognize and confront serious obstacles, both external and internal, to achieving these goals.

The Philippine economic growth is unjust and not sustainable, as the nation's wealth is concentrated among few billionaires and highly dependent on fossil fuels, according to Social Watch Philippines.

"A just and sustainable growth ensures that no one is left behind," Isagani Serrano, SWP co-convenor and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement president, said on Friday.

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