Most countries generally equate development to economic growth and vice versa. Years of economic growth, however, have failed to uplift the lives of Filipinos, with most of the population remaining poor. One may then ask if economic growth is the answer to the country's development or if there may be other factors that are critical to achieve development? In the 1990s, the United Nations Development Programme advocated the concept of human development which does not rest solely on incomes but on outcomes. Certain elements, however, impinge on the attainment of positive human development outcomes. One of which is institutions such as the government bureaucracy.
The 2008/2009 Philippine Human Development Report (PHDR), which is prepared by the Human Development Network, focuses on the theme "Institutions, politics, and human development in the Philippines." The main feature in this issue focuses on the Report's analysis and roots of the low quality of the country's bureaucracy. It proposes a long overdue reform in the government incentive structure as a way to fix inequities and improve government services that will produce a new breed of civil servants with a renewed pride and sense of mission in the conduct of their duties.