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Focus Group Discussion on Millenium Development Goals 31 st Annual PAASE Meeting & Symposium (31 APAMS) The Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering University of the Philippines National Science Complex. Members. Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia, UP School of Economics. (Convenor)

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Focus Group Discussion on Millenium Development Goals31st Annual PAASE Meeting & Symposium(31 APAMS)The Philippine-American Academy of Science & EngineeringUniversity of the PhilippinesNational Science Complex

  • Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia, UP School of Economics. (Convenor)
  • Dr. Rosario G. Manasan, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, (Panelist)
  • Ms. Erlinda Capones, National Economic and Development Authority, (Panelist)
  • Mr. Jackson L. Ubias, UP School of Economics
  • Dr. Brother Mel Bacabac, SVD, University of San Carlos
  • Mr. Michael Syson, ADMU
  • Mr. Bryan James J, Sudaria, Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering,
  • Ms. Rowena R. Antemano, UP Marine Science Institute
  • Ms. Janina Rhea A. Lazo, UPMSEP
  • Mrs. Connie Albano, Spouse of PAASE’s Al Albano
  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set by the United Nations in the early 1990s and signed on to by member countries, including the Philippines. There are eight major goals (with sub-goals) having to do with several areas of development concern (see Table 1 for the major goals).
  • These are:
  • (i) poverty, hunger, and unemployment;
  • (ii) universal primary education;
  • (iii) gender equality and women empowerment;
  • (iv) child mortality;
  • (v) maternal health;
  • (vi) HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
  • (vii) environmental sustainability; and
  • (viii) global partnership for development.
  • Most of these MDGs have quantitative targets to be achieved by 2015. With just four years to go before that milestone, it is timely – nay, urgent – that we check how much progress our country has made toward these goals. Earlier evaluations suggest that achievements are falling short of some targets (e.g., poverty reduction, education, and maternal mortality).

This FGD aims to:

  • (i) examine the country’s chances of achieving the targets set for each MDG;
  • (ii) assess the financial resources required; and
  • (iii) determine what policy measures and other interventions (from government, private sector, NGOs, and academia) must be put in place to improve the chances of success, or at least minimize the extent of the shortfalls.
  • The FGD will inevitably touch on the topical issue of population policy – of which the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health bill (RP/RH bill) currently pending in Congress is an integral component – to the extent that it has a direct or indirect bearing on most of the MDGs.
analysis and recommendations
Analysis and Recommendations
  • Problem: The Philippines’ backwardness, as reflected in poor performance vis-à-vis the MDGs, can be explained by: (i) misgovernance; (ii) weak economic growth; (iii) high wealth and income inequality; and (iv) rapid population growth (see Table 2 for some comparative data on PH and Asian neighbors). A couple of years back, financial resources required to achieve the MDGs were estimated at 2-3% of GDP, not to mention the time lags entailed in budgeting, approvals, biddings, and fund releases (inside lags), as well as the time needed for program and project interventions to come to fruition in terms of outcomes and impacts (outside lags).
  • Improve governance  reduce corruption
  • Speed up economic growth through better investment climate  simple and transparent regulatory system (which also reduces corruption and rent-seeking); improved infrastructure; and law and order.
  • Continue conditional cash transfer (CCT) program but with sharper targeting and better administration to avoid leakages; safety nets and health insurance for the poor.
  • Implement an unequivocal population policy of which the RH bill is a key measure  immediate, short-term, and long-term beneficial effects:
  • Immediate – reduced maternal deaths due to pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes; reduced illegal induced abortions owing to unplanned, mistimed and/or unwanted pregnancies; higher quality care of planned and properly provided-for children; etc.
  • Short- to medium-run – reduced pressure on school and healthcare systems (which have been bursting at the seams); less pressure on infrastructure; lower un- and under-employment rates; etc.
  • Long-run – faster economic growth due to higher saving and investment and better educated and productive labor force; improved chances of food self-sufficiency; faster poverty reduction, less stress on the environment; etc.