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PIDS Updates
Thursday / 6 NOVEMBER 2014
IN FOCUS: Local Governance

The passage of the Local Government Code in 1991 instituted a system of decentralized governance that granted local governments more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources in the pursuit of local development. This paradigm shift in governance legitimized the position of local actors as significant partners of national actors in the development process.

Two decades since the Code was implemented, there have been real gains from decentralization. The first volume of “Managing Urbanization under a Decentralized Governance Framework” edited by Dr. Rosario Masanan, senior research fellow at PIDS, shows the groundbreaking ways by which some city local governments have addressed social, economic, and environmental issues and problems, and other diseconomies associated with urbanization. This volume published by PIDS and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation highlights best practices in service delivery that demonstrate how the efficiency of public service provision at the local level can be improved by upgrading of LGU planning and fiscal management capacity, greater emphasis on participatory process, more effective coordination with other government agencies including other local governments, catalyzing the private sector and nongovernment organizations, use of appropriate low-cost technologies, and eliminating corruption. A common element in most of the cases is the critical role of a leadership that has a vision, popular support, clout, and managerial acumen—qualities that were seen in the local leaders of Puerto Princesa’s Oplan Linis and Bantay Puerto, Baguio City’s Clean and Green Program, General Santos City’s environmental program that is also linked to trade promotion, and Marikina City’s river rehabilitation program.

Partnership between the local leaders and the stakeholders is important to effectively carry out programs. In the policy note, "Mainstreaming disaster risk management in local government", Dr. Gilberto Llanto, PIDS president, described an innovative approach to disaster risk reduction developed by a provincial government. Frequented by typhoons and threatened by the eruption of an active volcano in the vicinity, local officials of Albay province set up a permanent facility to address risk management. Working closely with village leaders, they have identified risk-prone areas and relocated people to safer sites during calamities. Regular education programs on disaster preparedness, including quarterly drills, are also conducted. To help other provinces confronted by the same situation, the local government has implemented peer-to-peer replication by helping to capacitate these areas using local approaches that they developed.

In spite of marked improvements in local governance shown in these examples, it is clear there is still much to be hoped for. An area that has lagged behind is the health sector as manifested by serious underfunding of local health services and understaffing of local health facilities. A PIDS study from the Health Systems Research Management Project commissioned by the Department of Health also reveals the uneven and wide disparities in universal health coverage of the poor across regions and provinces under the sponsored program of the national health insurance scheme. Local governments play an important role in the program—both as provider of health services and financier of the health premiums and health services rendered.

The increasing economic and social inequalities between regions reflect the need for stronger local governance institutions. Despite some improvements over the period 1991-2012, regional disparities have widened, with Luzon remaining to be better off than Visayas and Mindanao, and poverty incidence increasing consistently in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In “Sustainable Development Framework for Local Governance”, Dr. Josef Yap and Michael Cabalfin, former PIDS president and research associate, respectively, attributed the widening disparities between regions to the persistent concentration of infrastructure and investments in better-off areas. They highlighted the interrelatedness of the different aspects of development: from investments and infrastructure, to health and education services, institutions, and good governance, among others. The presence or lack of these factors, and their convergence, determine the development trajectory of a region. Local governments, aided by the national government, have a big responsibility in facilitating local development. They should also ensure the effective and efficient delivery of basic services to their constituents, exercising prudence in the utilization of resources and improving equity of access to socioeconomic opportunities of the poor and marginalized through mechanisms such as demand-side financing.

To know more about PIDS research on local governance, visit the SocioEconomic Research Portal for the Philippines. Simply type “governance”, “local governance”, “local government”, “decentralization”, “health decentralization”, “local health care”, “institutional development”, “basic education”, and related terms in the Search box.

  1. Sustainable Development Framework for Local Governance
  2. Economic Growth Must Translate to Better Health Outcomes
  3. Managing Urbanization Under a Decentralized Governance Framework (Volume 1)
  4. Managing Urbanization Under a Decentralized Governance Framework (Volume 2)
  5. The quality of local government and development under decentralization in the Philippines
  6. Perspectives on Health Decentralization and Interjurisdictional Competition among Local Governments in the Philippines
  7. Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Local Governments
  8. Making reforms truly transform: the case of Philippine basic education
  9. Globalization and Glocalization: Experiences in the Local Philippine Context
  10. E-Government Initiatives of Four Philippine Cities
  11. E-governance at the Local Government Level in the Philippines: An Assessment of City Government Websites
  12. Devolution of Environmental and Natural Resource Management in the Philippines: Analytical and Policy Issues

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps on health indicators such as under-five mortality rate, infant mortality rate, prevalence of underweight children 0 to 5 years old, and facility-based delivery are now updated and uploaded in the GIS-based Philippine Socio-Economic Profile section of the PIDS website.

The GIS-based Philippine Socio-Economic Profile is an initiative from PIDS in its effort to establish an automated, internet-based, and user-friendly database system. The GIS provides a unique way of viewing and analyzing spatial data by presenting it in a geographical format. Full color maps reveal patterns and relationships that will allow users of data to view information in a new perspective.


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30 OCTOBER 2014
CUTS International-PIDS-AER National Reference Group (NRG) III Meeting
C.P. Romulo Hall, NEDA sa Makati Bldg., Amorsolo Street, Makati City

28 OCTOBER 2014
PIDS-DOH Regional Forum on the Philippine Health Sector Performance
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Nivel Hills, Apas, Cebu City

28 OCTOBER 2014
NRCP-PIDS Seminar-Workshop on Deepening the Understanding of Inclusive Development by Government Agencies
Hotel Dominique, Tagaytay City

22 OCTOBER 2014
PIDS -CPBRD Forum on the Jobs Challenge
RMV Mitra Hall, House of Representatives, Quezon City




There has been a growing recognition that large-scale gravity irrigation systems funded by public investments have performed poorly, and have not shown significant improvements with further investments for rehabilitation. This Policy Note examines three measures of performance of all national irrigation systems from the mid-1960s to 2012. Results show even poorer performance indicators vis-à-vis the World Bank irrigation sector review of 1992 which underscored the disappointing performance of the national irrigation systems due to overly optimistic technical and economic assumptions, inappropriate designs of irrigation systems, and difficulties in operation and maintenance (O&M). The latest assessment revealed the scanty effort to adopt more reasonable assumptions in estimating design areas; overstated estimates of available water supply; the failure of the design of irrigation systems to adequately address drainage problems, location-specific physical characteristics, and rapid urbanization; and the lack of significant improvement in the O&M.

Click here for the full article

Helping poor but deserving students get a college degree is one way to break the cycle of poverty. The question, however, is how these scholars should be chosen. This Policy Note draws some insights from the PIDS research on the Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA) implemented by the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Social Welfare and Development. The SGP-PA supports students unable to afford tertiary education. The program`s objective is to increase the number of higher education graduates among poor households and employ these graduates in high value-added occupations.

Click here for the full article


Fiscal incentives are one of the instruments in a country's development and investment promotion strategies. In the Philippines, the bill on the rationalization of fiscal incentives for investments to further shore up government collections has been certified a priority measure by the Aquino administration. This bill aims to rationalize fiscal incentives across industries to improve transparency, further bolster revenues, and level the playing field. This Policy Note examines two Senate bills being proposed to provide significant improvements to the current fiscal incentive regime in the country.

Click here for the full article


This research aims to investigate the role of communities in disaster recovery and in building resilience to answer the questions: "What is the role of community in the disaster recovery process? What roles do various stakeholders play in community-led disaster recovery? Is community-based disaster recovery affected by exposure to hazards and disasters, or by the community`s level of socioeconomic development?" To answer these questions, five hypotheses were tested in the 12 barangays from Tacloban, Iligan, Dagupan, and Marikina Cities. The cases were investigated by reviewing their documents, interviewing city government officials, and conducting focus group discussions involving barangay officials and residents. These were all conducted with the use of unstructured questionnaires and checklists for the Disaster-Resilient Community Index, which was used to compute the level of resilience of the barangays.

The study found that community governance for disaster recovery seems to be stuck in the pre-NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management) years because recovery planning is still passive and reactive. It also found that resilience is built through time, but it may be delayed if important recovery sectors (e.g., housing and livelihood) are neglected; this makes people (especially the poor who are always the hardest hit in dangerous areas) feel exposed and vulnerable to hazards and disasters.The study recommends the enactment of laws on predisaster recovery planning, public service continuity plans, and relocating people from disaster-prone communities to safer areas as cost-efficient recovery policy, plans, and project. Among others, further testing of the Disaster-Resilient Community Index and widening of the coverage of the study are suggested for further research.

Click here for the full article

Managing urban growth in countries requires that leaders plan ahead using national physical plans that, among others, safeguard land for utilities and physical infrastructure decades ahead, deliberately configures transport networks (including strategic seaports, controlled expressways and, if necessary, railway extension to suburbs) in order to induce factor mobility, and actively targets the removal of slums and urban renewal. Given this, it appears that Philippine urban development planning and implementation have overly focused on housing and neglected other types of physical infrastructure. Moreover, the urban development plans of local government units are fragmented and lack complementarity. This paper traces the roots of this state of affairs, proposes alternative ways of responding to the urbanization challenges in the Philippines, and discusses how regional cooperation among ASEAN Plus Three countries can help countries like the Philippines respond to urbanization challenges.

Click here for the full article




The number of children living in poverty in the Philippines continues to climb despite the country's recent economic gains. According to a study titled "Child Poverty in the Philippines" by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), there were already about 13.4 million Filipino children living in poverty in 2009.



Philippine Stock Exchange Index

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) ended at 7,283.07 for the month of September. This is higher compared to last August's 7,050.89.

Source: Philippine Stock Exchange

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on Philippine Stock Exchange Index.

Gross International Reserves

Based on preliminary data, the gross international reserves (GIR) stood at US$80.43 billion as of end of September 2014, lower by US$0.44 billion from the end of August of US$80.87 billion. Nonetheless, the GIR level remains ample as it can cover 10.9 months worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

for time-series data on gross international reserves

Exchange Rate

The average peso-dollar exchange rate continued to rise in September. From Php 43.77 in August, it inched up to Php44.08. This is higher compared to Php 43.838 in the same period last year. Nonetheless, the highest monthly average rate for 2014 remains to be that in January at Php 44.93.

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on monthly average peso-dollar exchange rate

Inflation Rate

The country's year-on-year headline inflation went down to 4.4 percent in September, from 4.9 percent in August. The downtrend was mainly due to slower annual growth in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index. To compare, the rate was only 2.7 percent in September 2013. Meanwhile, the core inflation rate remained at 3.4 percent, same as that of last month and 2.3 percent higher than that for the same period last year.

Source: Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistics Office

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on year-on-year inflation rate.


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