PIDS in the News Archived (October 2014)

AROUND 35 percent of those who dropped out of the Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA) were uninterested in pursuing tertiary education.
This was stated in a policy note titled How Should Income-Based Grantees in Tertiary Education be Chosen? authored by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) consultant Denise Valerie Silfverberg.
Silfverberg said that because of this, there is a need to refine the selection process of choosing grantees of tertiary-degree programs in the future.
The selection process needs to be refined to efficiently allocate the financial assistance to the targeted population. The program should aid those who are financially constrained but should focus on those who have the least ability constraints. The best available tool for gauging this would be admission exams, Silfverberg said.
Silfverberg said the SGP-PAs primary criteria for eligibility is if the potential grantee is a recipient of the Conditional Cash-Transfer Program and if there is no college graduate in the family.
The study also stated that academic merit was not considered when choosing the beneficiaries except for high-school completion.
However, the study showed that 139 students who dropped out of the program for various reasons. The highest number of dropouts was recorded at 39 at the Cordillera Administrative Region.
There were 12 reasons the students dropped out and three of them accounted for 35 percent of the dropouts who cited lack of interest, preference to work and academic difficulties.
Silfverberg said this indicated that the chosen grantees were simply unprepared for tertiary education.
Other reasons for dropping out included pregnancy, health issues, familial obligations, behavioral issues, homesickness and even cultural change experienced through relocation.
Apart from ensuring the overall readiness of scholarship grantees, there is a need to increase scholarship funds and improve the delivery of stipends to scholars.
A number of grantees who have dropped out have indicated their intention to return to university and finish their degrees. Most of these grantees were those who had unplanned pregnancies and those who had financial difficulties due to the delayed release of stipends, Silfverberg, however, said.


The SGP-PA supports students unable to afford tertiary education. The program was implemented in academic year (AY) 2012 to 2013 and will be expanded to 36,000 students from 4,000 students in AY 2014 to 2015.
The total grant amounts to P60,000 per academic year per student. The amount covers tuition, textbook support, and stipend or living expenses for the grantees.
The government extends P10,000 per semester for tuition and other fees; P2,500 per semester for textbooks and other learning materials; and P3,500 per month for 10 school months as stipend.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: October 26, 2014
Source: Business Mirror

'This new normal means that we have to integrate development and humanitarian work, ensuring that children and their communities are prepared for whatever comes their way, no matter how rich or poor they are.'
What do children, poverty, and natural disasters have in common?

As the Philippines celebrates the 22nd National Childrens Month this October, the answer is "far too much."

We need to look closely at the harmful relationship between children, poverty, and natural disasters. Its now absolutely clear that our poorest children suffer the most when a disaster strikes.

It may be a coincidence that the International Days for Disaster Risk Reduction and Poverty Eradication also fall in October, but the link between children, poverty, and natural disasters is far from a coincidence. Even a glance at child poverty statistics in the Philippines and the disaster risk profile of areas prone to multiple hazards reveals how the combination of poverty and disasters creates double vulnerability for children, who are the most vulnerable group in any population and under any circumstance.

A 2014 report from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies shows that the number of income poor children in the Philippines has now reached 13.4 million, over 1/3 of all children aged below 18. Notwithstanding these numbers in income poverty, the same report identifies about 10 million children suffering other deprivations particularly in health, education, and living standards " to include decent shelter, safe water, and sanitary toilet facilities.

While the Philippines registers consistent annual growth rates, these statistics confirm that growth doesnt benefit everyone " evidence of a growing and disturbing trend among middle-income countries.

Tipping the vulnerability scale even further is the Philippines very high risk to disasters (third in the world as of 2012). About 74% of our population is vulnerable to multiple hazards. In addition to earthquakes, landslides, flooding and other events, about 20 typhoons enter the Philippines every year, the strongest one to make landfall in recent history recorded just last year, when Category 5 Typhoon Yolanda crossed central Philippines.

Despite this repeated exposure to risk, a 2009 UN global assessment on disaster risk put the possible mortality rate in the Philippines at 17% higher than Japans, if both were to be hit by the same cyclone with the same intensity at the same time. Poverty plays a big part in this unacceptable discrepancy.

Last year, Typhoon Yolanda lashed Eastern Visayas, one of the poorest regions in the Philippines and also most prone to natural disasters. Its hard to imagine the devastation and loss (of already meager possessions) among the 2.6 million poorest households, not to mention the fear and uncertainty of the 5.9 million children that stood in the typhoons path.

Over the last year Plan International Philippines, one of the countrys largest and oldest child-centered international NGOs, has been providing relief, recovery, and rehabilitation assistance to about 1.3 million Typhoon Yolanda survivors.
To date, we have programmed more than $61 million (P2.74 billion)* " one of the biggest contributions from child-centered INGOs " and need $9.5 million (P425.7 billion) more to complete recovery work over a period of three years. We had worked in these regions for more than 50 years before Yolanda - and we will be there long after.

The participation of children and youth lies at the center of everything we do. This includes our priority areas of health, protection from violence and disasters, and education, as we work with grassroots communities, the government, and other stakeholders including legislative champions, civil society coalitions, the private sector, and even the media.
Adjusting to the new normal

The days when we can pretend that natural disasters are abnormal have long passed in the Philippines. This new normal means that we have to integrate development and humanitarian work, ensuring that children and their communities are prepared for whatever comes their way, no matter how rich or poor they are.
"This new normal means that we have to integrate development and humanitarian work, ensuring that children and their communities are prepared for whatever comes their way, no matter how rich or poor they are."
- Carina Van der Hor

This has brought us to the principle of building back better and safer. It is not enough to simply address disaster recovery and rehabilitation, we need to make sure that the impact of future disasters is reduced through a strategic convergence of our various interventions " and that communities emerge stronger and more resilient.

As part of this, in Plans recovery program areas, we have introduced climate-resilient model shelters that integrate programs for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), psychosocial support including providing community-based consultation platforms for children to inform planning and evaluation processes, strengthening social safety nets through capacity-building and cash-for-work for disaster-resilient carpentry, and other initiatives.
At the policy level, Plan International Philippines recognizes the urgency of reviewing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law, ensuring that vulnerability is considered and addressed, and ensuring that inputs from vulnerable groups " including children " inform the process.

We also support the introduction of legislation that protects children in emergencies " from ensuring continued access of children to their basic needs to support immediate recovery, to strengthening institutional measures on civil registration and vital statistics for the effective monitoring and reporting on the status of affected children and ensuring their continued access to social services.

This is what the entire spectrum of the new normal brings: development that is disaster- and climate-resilient, and development that is inclusive, ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected and enabled through safety nets in the short term, and through education and health investments for children in the long term.

Plan International Philippines sees these not as challenges, but as opportunities. More than anything " and fuelled by the Filipinos unbreakable spirit - we are passionate about keeping the Filipino child at the center of all this, whose hope is kept alive, who can grow and achieve their full " and unlimited - potential. " Rappler.com
Carin van der Hor is Country Director of Plan International Philippines


Author: Carin van der Hor
Date: October 25, 2014
Source: Rappler.com

ASAHANG maliitin ng Malacaang spokesmen ang ulat ng government think tank Philippine Institute for Developmental Studies. Ito yung isa sa bawat tatlong kabataang Pilipino ay dukha. Tiyak iismid sila luma na ang pinagbatayan ng pag-aaral, kaya hindi nai-factor ang mga kagila-gilalas na nagawa ng admin. Ganun naman sila palagi.
Totoo naman na ang saliksik ni Dr. Celia Reyes, senior fellow ng PIDS, ay halaw sa national survey ng 2009, hu-ling pinaka-maraming respondents. Pero pinatotohanan ang kanyang mga obserbasyon ng regional data nung 2011.
Ilan lang sa mga nakakapanlumo na nabatid ng saliksik:
13.4 milyong bata, 36% ng mga edad-17 pababa, ang maralita nung 2009. Kapos sila sa pagkain, silong, kalusugan, at edukasyon.
4 milyon ang walang kubeta sa bahay; kasing dami ang walang malinis na tubig, 260,000 ang walang bahay.
1.4 milyon ang nakatira sa slums, 6.5 milyon ang walang kuryente sa bahay, 3.4 milyon ang walang gamit pang-impormasyon.
atay sa local records, dumadami ang batang dukha. Sampung milyon ang kapos sa dalawang batayang pa-ngangailangan, at 750,000 ang kapos sa lima.
Akma ito sa ulat kamakailan ni Economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan -- pinatahimik nga lang ng Malacaang -- na nananatili ang antas na karalitaan nitong nakaraang tatlong dekada sa 26-27%.
Tatlo ang nagpapalala sa karalitaan: Bilis paglaki ng populasyon, mayayaman lang ang nakikinabang sa kaunlaran, at malimit na sakuna. Samantala, hindi pa tumatalab ang pang-15 taon na conditional cash transfer program. Kaya asahang mananatili ang mga batang kalye at hamok, nagkakalkal ng basura, nagnanakaw sa mga sasakyan sa trapik.//


Author: Jarius Bondoc
Date: October 24, 2014
Source: Pilipino Star Ngayon

The Philippines must implement an effective competition policy and law to facilitate a competitive environment for business, according to an economist.

Dr. Gilbert Llanto, president of the government think tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) said that competition in domestic markets through both inter-firm rivalry and entry of firms is positively associated with higher rates of growth in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

Investment - both domestic and foreign - plays an important role in this process, he said during the 40th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.

Llanto said an effective competition policy fosters inter-firm rivalry and entry by preventing anticompetitive practices and promoting competition.

He also underscored the need for competition law that addresses both private sector restrictive business practices and public policies that unnecessarily impede competition.

Citing experiences of other countries, Llanto discussed the adverse effects of anti-competitive practices, such as cartels, on their industries.

Llanto said the country currently has no unified law or enforcement regime that deals with all of the anti-competitive behaviors that may impact consumers.

(Competition policy) encourages innovation, greater productivity leading to benefits to the consumer: lower prices, better quality of goods and services, wider choice for consumers, he added.

Llanto said greater productivity and competitiveness lead to industrial growth and jobs and better access to services.//

Author:
Date: October 24, 2014
Source: Malaya

Sen. Sonny Angara yesterday urged the government to allocate more funds for the development of the rural areas, so the rest of the country can benefit from the growing economy.

Based on the Department of Budget and Managements 2015 regional allocation per department, Luzon gets 63 percent or P579 billion of the total P915-billion proposed budget, excluding the allocation for the central offices.

The National Capital Regions share of P284 billion or 31 percent is even bigger than entire Visayas P143 billion (16 percent) and Mindanaos P193 billion (21 percent).

Government spending is largely focused in urban areas despite the fact that extreme poverty in the country occurs in less developed provinces. Government should spend more to develop our rural areas to unlock their potential in contributing to the national economy, said Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee.

A recent study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), titled Child Poverty in the Philippines, shows that poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon with three out of four children from poor families living in rural areas.

The PIDS study further recognizes the need to have spatial focus to address the specific needs of provinces.

Angara noted that even a small investment in the countryside can go a long way, citing Baler in Aurora (the home province of the Angaras) as an example of a rural area that has benefited from the funding of the national government.

With the completion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the fixing of the Canili-Pantabangan road, tourism in Baler escalated, which resulted in job generation and improvement of lives of thousands of Aurorans, he said.

Angara said while the governments conditional cash transfer is a good poverty reduction program, studies have shown it must be coupled with other programs to really have a multidimensional approach to poverty reduction.

The lawmaker also stressed the need to improve the countrys agricultural sector by devoting more government funds for farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities and large slaughterhouses.

We should help the rural areas attract more investors and boost their tourism drive by providing infrastructure and job generation projects. If we help our poor provinces rise from poverty, it would definitely result to a growing and lasting impact on the economic growth of the entire country, Angara said.//

Author:
Date: October 16, 2014
Source: Malaya

The countrys major challenge in addressing urbanization is low absorptive capacity in government line agencies, according to a study released by state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
In a study titled Scrutinizing Urbanization Challenges in the Philippines Through the Infrastructure Lens, PIDS senior research fellow Adoracion Navarro said the country aims to increase its infrastructure spending to 5 percent of gross domestic product to address problems brought about by urbanization and poverty.
Navarro said these problems, such as the lack of potable water, poor sanitation, flooding, poor waste disposal and insufficient urban transport, also increase poverty incidence.
In previous years, the major constraint to meeting the target is resource availability but now that the Philippines is experiencing wider fiscal space, more public resources are being made available for infrastructure investments, Navarro said.
At present, it appears that the more serious short- term constraints are the weak capacity of government implementing agencies to absorb more funds and implement projects, she added.
Navarro recommended increasing regional cooperation to address short-term problems on absorptive capacity. It will also require tapping into global best practices and better partnerships between and among government personnel and managers.
Improving absorptive capacity will enable the government to finance much-needed investments in mass transport, highways, bridges, ports, airports, water-distribution networks, electric power systems, and telecommunications and information infrastructure.
Addressing this may require sharing of best practices and innovations in procurement, contractual arrangements, and project management and implementation, the study added.
Improving absorptive capacity to get these infrastructure investments on the ground will attain the recommendations included in the National Urban Development and Housing Framework (NUDHF) 2009 to 2016, formulated by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, in cooperation with the PIDS.
The NUDHF recommended the improvement of urban competitiveness, such as in the greater Metro Manila area, Cebu and Davao City. This recommendation urges the increase of industrial productivity in urban centers nationwide.
The plan also recommended the reduction of poverty in urban areas by improving urban mobility, encouraging smaller families to help control population growth, and implementing livelihood programs.
Further, the NUDHF recommended addressing the countrys housing backlog through affordable housing and the promotion of sustainable communities by encouraging green building, integrating climate-change adaptation and sustainable planning in cities.
Also, a key recommendation under the NUDHF is to encourage performance-based governance by providing incentives to local governments and making them less dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), among others.
The study cited official government data that showed that as of the 2010 census, urbanization in the Philippines was at 45.3 percent. In absolute terms, this means that of the 92.3 million Filipinos, around 41.9 million are living in urban areas.
Navarro also cited United Nations projections that estimated that by 2030, the Philippines will be 56.3- percent urban and by 2050, around 65.6-percent urban.
These projections, the study noted, are not far from the overall urbanization rates projected for Southeast Asia of 55.7 percent in 2030 and 65.9 percent in 2050.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: October 21, 2014
Source: Select Article Source

THE Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is pushing for the merger of the countrys top investment promotion agencies (IPAs), as well as the abolition of the income-tax holiday (ITH), to better streamline the incentives being given to businesses and plug the governments revenue leakage.
In a Policy Note authored by PIDS senior research fellow Rosario G. Manasan and supervising research specialist Danileen Kristel C. Parel, the state think tank said this proposal is also contained in Senate Bill (SB) 987, or the so-called Recto Bill.
The measure, the PIDS noted, is more favorable than SB 35, or the Villar Bill.
The Recto Bill advocated for the merger of the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to be called the Philippine Investment Promotion Administration (Pipa).
Senate Bill 987 is better than SB 35 in the sense that it can reduce the redundancy rate more effectively because it provides incentives to a limited number of enterprises, thus, eliminating those that will still invest even without the incentives, the policy note stated.
Manasan and Parel said under SB 987, only export and domestic enterprises in the 30 poorest cities nationwide will qualify for fiscal incentives. Under SB 35, the authors said, those qualified to seek incentives include domestic enterprises and domestic strategic enterprises. The authors explained that SB 987s proposal will limit the grant of fiscal incentives and lessen incentive redundancies.
Further, Manasan and Parel said this will also promote the spread of industries and promote economic growth in less-developed areas in the country. The authors also said the abolition of the income-tax holiday (ITH) under SB 987 is favorable. In lieu of this, the bill advocated for the reduction of Corporate Income Tax (CIT).
However, Manasan and Parel said the CIT must be recalibrated, since the current 15 percent was on the high side compared to international standards.
The reduction of CIT rates also has to be time-bound. Some might argue that by setting time boundaries to the reduction of CIT rates, it might just be like the ITH that would attract footloose industries, but would exit the market after the CIT rate-reduction period has lapsed, the authors added.
The study noted that there are 140 laws granting fiscal incentives in the Philippines. These gave birth to various kinds of incentives in effect in the country, such as ITH, which meant no taxes for a period of time; investment allowances and tax credits; reduced CIT rates; accelerated-depreciation scheme; exemptions from indirect taxes; and export-processing zones.
There have also been redundancies in the implementation of incentives. In 2004 the governments foregone revenues due to these incentives reached P43.18 billion, or around 1 percent of the countrys gross domestic product in that year.
While fiscal incentives serve as a promotional tool for investment, other determinants of the attractiveness of a country to investments cannot be compensated for by just the granting of incentives, the study stated.
The overall investment climate, which includes the presence of infrastructure, cheap labor, and consistent and predictable policy and regulatory environment, is deemed to be more important than the provisions of fiscal incentives, it added.
In the second quarter of 2014, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the total approved investments through IPAs of both foreign and Filipino nationals reached P257.8 billion.
Filipinos continued to dominate investments approved during the quarter, sharing 86 percent, or P221.8 billion, worth of pledges. The bulk of the investments committed by the foreign and Filipino nationals is intended to finance activities in electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply, contributing P167.1 billion, or 64.8 percent, followed by real-estate activities at P25.4 billion, or 9.9-percent share; and manufacturing, at P24.6 billion, or 9.5-percent share.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: October 19, 2014
Source: Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines " Poverty and disasters. What image do you see? Now try to picture the children caught in between.
The Philippines has reaped international praise for being Asias second fastest growing economy, next only to China. Critics, however, question whether all Filipinos benefit from this growth. Self-rated poverty reports and nutrition surveys reveal those who seem to have been left behind.
Children in the Philippines are at more at risk than those in countries with less poverty, said Carin van der Hor, Country Director of Plan International Philippines, a non-governmental organization (NGO).
As of 2012, Filipino children had a poverty incidence of 35.2% which is the 3rd highest among all basic sectors, next to fishers and farmers. This has remained unchanged in the past 6 years. In 2009, there were around 13.4 million poor children deprived of food, shelter, and education, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies reported.
Van der Hor cited a UN study stating that if the Philippines and Japan were to be hit by the same cyclone, the latter would have a mortality rate 17% lower than the Philippines. Poverty plays a big part in this unacceptable discrepancy, she added.
Children, Disasters
Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) affected over 5.9 million children in the Eastern Visayas. Many of them lost their homes, schools, and some also lost their families and friends.
I will never forget a picture a 7-year-old girl drew. It showed destroyed houses, schools, coconut trees. And dead bodies, recalled Richard Sandison, Plans Yolanda response manager.
Sandison, who has been in Tacloban since November 2013, stressed that poverty is not only about income, but also about unequal access to basic needs like water and sanitation, health services, information, opportunities, and emotional support. This is social poverty.
Among Yolanda-affected areas, Plan has set up 100 child-friendly spaces for over 20,000 kids. These are spaces where children can safely learn, play, and communicate. Counselling and psychosocial services are also available.
Interestingly, we found that a lot of youth are asking about sex, Van der Hor shared. So we have classes too on reproductive health; this is important since rising cases ofteenage pregnancy are also a problem.
Child trafficking is another issue to be closely monitored post-disasters, according to Plan. In some communities, Plan observed cases of child abuse among girls below 14 years old.
Poor nutrition is another concern. The biggest problem we see is stunting, but this is not a direct effect of Yolanda, they were already malnourished even before, Sandison clarified. Malnourished children, however, are more vulnerable to communicable diseases common among unsanitary and crowded environments post-disasters.
To address such issues, Plan " alongside other NGOs and local governments " provides climate-resilient model shelters, water and shelter kits, cash-for-work assistance, and health classes to affected families. Plan carried out a blanket food distribution from November to February, and has since then focused on more targeted communities.
Sandison advised other groups doing supplementary feeding programs to use locally available vegetables. Feeding programs are not enough, whats more important is to educate parents on proper nutrition, he argued.
And if the parents themselves are unhealthy, how can they take care of their children?
Voice
Plan highlights the need to hear the voices of the community before doing crafting programs or doing intervention.
We want to build back better, said Sandison, We have to tap into the power of local communities. Involve them as partners in their recovery journey. We not only build back structures but also knowledge, community spirit, and resilience.
The families themselves are encouraged to be part of the planning and evaluation process of all programs.
During consultations, Plan found out that many barangays were requesting for more disaster and risk reduction (DRR) training since many of them do not have any DRR plans at all.
Barangays can be trained to have their own emergency response teams.
Children have their own voices, problem is we dont listen, Van der Hor added. She advised response groups to not speak in behalf of children, but to let the children speak for themselves.
In fact, Plan trained children to report on issues they want to highlight them, through its Youth Reporter Project."
New normal
Before being assigned in the Philippines, Sandison was part of the Aceh tsunami response team in Indonesia for two years. After a year, there were still 100,000 people living in tents in Aceh. In the Yolanda context, it's also many but its less, Sandison said.
Ideally, people should only stay in tents for up to 4 months, until they move into better transitional shelters. (READ: Families still in tents)
Plan lauded the Philippines for its satisfactory response and recovery efforts. Was the recovery fast? Some parts yes, some no. Was it satisfactory? Yes. There was proper coordination, Van der Hor said.
Van der Hor emphasized that Plan is not interested in criticizing the government; what is important is that action is being done. We dont care who likes who. We just want agencies to fulfil their mandates and for them to be accountable, she added. (READ:'Why refuse us help?')
Plan hopes that the Philippines can introduce legislation protecting children in emergencies; a law that can provide children with better and continuous access to basic needs and social services.
This is the new normal. Development that is inclusive, disaster and climate resilient, and ensures that that children are prepared for whatever comes their way, no matter how rich or poor they are, Van der Hor said. " Rappler.com
October is National Children's Month. What are the most pressing issues faced by Filipino children and what can we do to help address them? Send your stories and ideas to move.ph@rappler.com



Author: Fritzie Rodriguez
Date: October 19, 2014
Source: Rappler.com

MANILA, Philippines - Global child welfare organization Plan International is urging government officials in charge of post-Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas to consider childrens welfare as communities in Leyte and Samar arse rebuilt.
Carin Van der Hor, country director of Plan International Philippines, said the permanent houses that would be built for the thousands of families rendered homeless by Yolanda should take into consideration the safety of children, especially in times of future calamities that will visit the Philippines.
The new normal means that we have to integrate development and humanitarian work, ensuring that children and their communities are prepared for whatever comes their way no matter how rich or poor they are, Der Hor told a media briefing on the groups ongoing efforts in the rehabilitation of affected communities.
This has brought us to the principle of building back better and safer. It is not enough to simply address disaster recovery and rehabilitation, we need to make sure that the impact of future disasters is reduced through a strategic convergence of our various interventions and that communities emerge stronger and more resilient, Der Hor added.
Plan International Philippines also cited the recent findings of government think tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies that showed that there were around 13.4 million young Filipinos, or more than a third of the countrys population, under 18 years old, who experience severe and overlapping deprivations in food, shelter, health and education.
We have to ask ourselves why a 2009 United Nations global assessment on disaster risk put the possible mortality rate in the Philippines at 17 percent higher than Japans if both were to be hit by the same cyclone with the same intensity at the same time. Poverty plays a big part in this unacceptable discrepancy, Der Hor said.
Plan International was among the first organizations to mobilize relief operations in Tacloban City and other areas in Eastern Visayas that were devastated by Yolanda in November last year. It continues to help typhoon survivors by conducting recovery and rehabilitation assistance in affected communities.//

Author: Rainier Allan Ronda
Date: October 18, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

THE JOYS of the season may not be as felt as much by 5.9 million children in areas struck by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines), especially in Eastern Visayas where the super storm left a trail of death and destruction.

Poverty, specifically in Yolanda-hit areas, has made the people more vulnerable " all the more the children in these areas, a non-government organization said, Friday.

Plan International Philippines " one of the largest and oldest child-centered international NGO operating in the country" said Filipino children are twice as vulnerable because of crippling poverty.

A CHILD PIGGYBACKS on her mother in one of the villages devastated by the storm in Tacloban City.
This photo was taken a week after Haiyan made landfall in Tacloban and other parts of the Visayas,
killing thousands of people | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Even a glance at child poverty statistics in the Philippines and the disaster risk profile of areas prone to multiple hazards reveals how the combination of poverty and disaster creates double vulnerability for children, who are the most vulnerable group in any population and under any circumstance, Carin Van der Hor, Country Director of Plan International Philippines, said.

Van der Hor cited the 2009 United Nations global assessment on disaster risk that the Philippines has a seven percent possible mortality rate than Japan should a cyclone with the same intensity hit both countries at the same time.
Poverty plays a big part in this unacceptable discrepancy, Van der Hor said.


CHILDREN bring home relief goods as night falls in Tacloban City. This photo was taken a week after
Typhoon Haiyan hit the city, one of the hardest-hit areas in Eastern Visayas | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

Van der Hor added it is this dire situation, particulary in Eastern Visayas where 5.9 million children live, that have worsened their lives when Yolanda hit their region.

Data gathered by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), showed that 13.4 million young Filipinos experience a severe lack of food, shelter, health, and education. Plan International said this means that more than a third of the countrys population under 18 years old are more vulnerable to bear the brunt whenever a natural calamity hits their areas.

As part of their overall response to address this vulnerability among Filipino children, Plan International also promotes supplemental feeding. It is a training program that is aimed at improving the nutritional needs of the children in Yolanda-hit areas.

Plan International Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Response Manager Richard Sandison told PCIJ that they launched a survey in Yolanda-hit areas specifically to categorize how severe malnutrition is in the region even before Yolanda happened. They did the technical survey together with other international NGOs within the social welfare cluster, Sandison added.

The number of severely malnourished children is very low. Whats concerning, though, is the levels of stunting and chronic malnutrition which is running over 50 percent. So its a long-term nutrition issue in the Yolanda-hit areas. This is pre-Yolanda so this is not a direct result of the typhoon but it has made them a lot more weaker and a lot more vulnerable, Sandison said.

Plan International Philippines was among the first organizations on the ground to mobilize relief efforts for typhoon survivors after Yolanda hit, and continues to do so through recovery and rehabilitation assistance aimed to help communities in building back better and safer as a response to future challenges.

The Building Back Better project is much more than an approach to construction but that community recovery efforts result in safer, more resilient buildings and infrasture, access to safe drinking water and other services.

Plan International Philippines has helped 1.3 million Yolanda survivors last year and it continues to work Tacloban City with government partners and 6,000 community member-beneficiaries on their Building Back Better project.

It means working with communities on their recovery journey, involving them as partners in the recovery process, providing emotional support and building knowledge, community spirit and resilience, said Sandison.

He added that these are things that are not seen immediately but can withstand any challenges the Yolanda-hit areas may encounter in the future.//



Author: Cong B. Corrales
Date: October 17, 2014
Source: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Expect Malacaang to dismiss the findings of the state think tank, Philippine Institute for Development Studies. That is, one in every three Filipino children lives in abject poverty. Its easy to second-guess the Palace spokesmens alibi: that the PIDS figures are old, and so discount the admins dazzling economic gains. Thats what they always say.

True, the study by PIDS senior fellow Dr. Celia Reyes culls mainly from a national survey in 2009, the last with a large respondents pool. But her observations match that of regional data in 2011.

The child poverty rate can only be worsening. For, there is no sign of abatement. In fact it tallies with the recent report of the National Economic and Development Authority " suppressed by Malacaang " that overall poverty has stayed for the past 30 years, at 26-27 percent.

Some of the PIDS findings:

13.4 million children lived penurious in 2009. They were 36 percent, over one-third, of children aged below 18 then. Being poor, they suffered deprivations of food, shelter, health, and education.

Four million had no home toilet; the same number had no access to safe water. Another 260,000 kids did not have decent shelter.

1.4 million children lived in slums, 6.5 million did not have home electricity, and 3.4 million had no means of information.

National surveys and administrative records show a worsening. Ten million children face at least two severe overlapping deprivations of basic amenities, while 750,000 simultaneously face five.

Education-wise, poor children had high dropout rates, and survivors showed low achievement levels. In the last decade the graduation rate from elementary or high school hardly improved.

In 2011, 5.5 million children were forced to work to augment family incomes. They had to skip school, so weakened their chances for gainful work.

Child poverty was worse in rural areas, where three in four poor children live. Four in five are so destitute they have no safe water and sanitary toilets.

Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao were deemed worst, so need priority.

The study rued that child poverty will swell with the population, non-inclusive economics, and natural calamities.

Stiff opposition has met the Reproductive Health Law. Economic growth has benefited only the rich, and has not trickled down to the poor and the rural areas. The governments conditional cash transfer, slated for 15 years for full effect, barely has begun with 2.3 million needy families. Government has been slow to rebuild communities ravaged by typhoon, tsunami, landslide, flood, and volcanic eruption " not to forget man-made displacements like Moro rebellion in Zamboanga City, and clan wars.

So expect to see more street children, garbage scavengers, young pregnancies, juvenile delinquents, and slum dogs.

The full study may be downloaded from: http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/webportal/CDN/PUBLICATIONS/pidsdps1433.pdf//

Author: Jarius Bondoc
Date: October 17, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

ANGELES CITY -- It was the accidental discovery of a group of street children living under a bridge in Angeles City that made Joy Cruz, executive director of Kuliat Foundation Inc. (KFI), reflect deeply about the real purpose of her duty.
Last year, Cruz met 10-year-old Hero who told her about the disheartening hardships of a child forced to work every day to have something to fill his grunting stomach.
"It was a typical story of a street kid who ran away from home because his parents were very abusive and violent. The streets, however, also inflicted a lot of painful experiences to the child. In the streets, he met people who forced him to work in exchange for food and temporary shelter. He used to stay in a shanty before the foundation helped him," she recounted the boy as saying.
Hero is among the millions of Filipino children who are being denied of their rights.
The month of October marks the 22nd National Childrens Month (NCM), which aims to promote and protect the physical, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being of the child as well as to emphasize the importance of the role of the child in the Philippine society.
Last month, the United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef) also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). As a state party to the convention, the Philippines is committed to working with the communities and encouraging the policy-makers to advance the goals and ideas related to the CRC.
The Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), meanwhile, announced the theme of this years National Children Month as Bata Kasali Ka, Ikaw ay Mahalaga.
The theme affirmed the significance of protecting, promoting, and fulfilling the rights of the child to a meaningful participation in all government undertakings where childrens concerns including the rights are at stake.
State of the Filipino children
While the country has signed and ratified the CRC, the Philippines still has a long way to go in terms of pursuing government policies and practices, which will pave the way for the comprehensive inclusion and recognition of children.
Based on the latest report of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), poverty remains a big challenge with the number of children in income poverty estimated at 40.8 percent of the total child population or about 14.4 million poor children.
In terms of education, a study done by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in 2011 revealed that only about 88 percent of primary-aged children (i.e., those between six and 11 years old) were in primary school and about 60 percent of secondary-aged children (i.e., those between 12 and 15 years old) were in secondary school.
Furthermore, the 2011 report of the Department of Labor and Employment indicated that around 2.9 million children aged five to 15 years old were out-of-school while 12 percent of Filipino children took part in child labor.
With this, many childrens rights groups are urging the government to address these challenges and include the Filipino children in the decision-making process.
Raising childrens rights awareness
In celebration of the National Childrens Month, the Kuliat Foundation, in cooperation with the Angeles City Tourism Office, End Child Hunger Philippines, Teatro Angeleo, is holding a month-long photo and arts exhibit on the rights of a child at the Museo Ning Angeles (October 4 to 7) and at the Angeles City Library and Information Center (October 9 to 31).
The Child and Youth Welfare Code (Presidential Decree No. 603) listed the rights of children:
Right to a balanced diet, adequate clothing, sufficient shelter, proper medical attention, and all the basic physical requirements of a healthy and vigorous life.
Right to an education commensurate with his abilities and to the development of his skills for the improvement of his capacity for service to himself and to his fellowmen.
Right to protection against exploitation, improper influences, hazards, and other conditions or circumstances prejudicial to his physical, mental, emotional, social and moral development.
Cruz shared that the exhibit aims to raise the public awareness and inspire people to send a strong message and call for action to the members of the community.
Through the photo exhibit, people can understand the most basic rights of the children in a simple way, visually showing actions that might violate them, said Cruz.
In particular, Cruz emphasized that the exhibits use of visual arts provide people with powerful tools of self-expression while engaging the people in harnessing the wealth of creativity and commitment that they can bring to the campaign to ensure the rights of the children.
Cruz, however, noted that people should not be satisfied at knowing the rights of the children. She hopes that the community can be proactive rather than reactive in addressing the most pressing concerns of the children.
We believe that people should not stop at knowing that these problems exist in the country. The primary purpose of the foundation is to preserve the history, culture, and tradition of Angeles City. But we realized that as members of the community, we have the responsibility to look after the future generations, explained Cruz, adding that the foundation is currently undertaking educational and feeding programs for the street children of Angeles City.
Simple ways
Meanwhile, John Jurado, founder of End Child Hunger Philippines (ECHP), said that improving the condition of the poor Filipino children should start at the local level.
People always contemplate on whether they should help or not. Some fear that their actions may not be good enough. But, the simplest things matter the most when it comes to helping children attain their rights. They can start by volunteering, donating, and supporting the children-centered programs of their communities, Jurado emphasized.
The Philippines is still far from achieving its goal of lifting the plight of children yet the efforts of both the state and the citizens should not stop at the mere attainment of positive statistical figures, childrens rights advocates reiterated, he said.The rights of the children should rather be instilled into the psyche of the local communities as the children will always play a key role in the nation-building. Improving the lives of the unfortunate Filipino children can begin one community at a time, Jurado said.//

Author: Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay
Date: October 16, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

Senator Sonny Angara on Wednesday has urged the government to allocate more funds for the development of the rural areas so that the rest of the country can benefit from the growing economy.
Based on the Department of Budget and Management's 2015 regional allocation per department, Luzon gets 63 percent or P579 billion of the total P915-billion proposed budget, excluding the allocation for the central offices.
Meanwhile, the National Capital Region's share of P284 billion or 31 percent is even bigger than entire Visayas' P143 billion (16 percent) and Mindanao's P193 billion (21 percent).
"Government spending is largely focused in urban areas despite the fact that extreme poverty in the country occurs in less developed provinces. Government should spend more to develop our rural areas to unlock their potential in contributing to the national economy," said Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee.
A recent study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), titled "Child Poverty in the Philippines," shows that "poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon" with three out of four children from poor families are living in rural areas.
The PIDS study further recognizes the need to have spatial focus to address the specific needs of provinces.
Angara noted that even a little investment in the countryside can go a long way.
The former three-termer Aurora representative has cited Baler, Aurora as an example of a rural area that has benefited from the funding of the national government.
"With the completion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the fixing of the Canili-Pantabangan road, tourism in Baler escalated, which resulted to job generation and improvement of lives of thousands of Aurorans," he said.
The lawmaker added that the government's conditional cash transfer (CCT) is a good poverty reduction program but studies have shown that it must be coupled with other programs to really have a multidimensional approach to poverty reduction.
Angara also stressed the need to improve the country's agricultural sector by devoting more government funds for farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, and large slaughterhouses.
"We should help the rural areas attract more investors and boost their tourism drive by providing infrastructure and job generation projects. If we help our poor provinces rise from poverty, it would definitely result to a growing and lasting impact on the economic growth of the entire country," the senator concluded.//

Author:
Date: October 15, 2014
Source: Senate Press Releases

SENATOR Juan Edgardo Angara is urging the government to allocate more funds in the rural areas for infrastructure and job generation projects to boost country's economic growth.
"Government should spend more to develop our rural areas to unlock their potential in contributing to the national economy," Angara, chairperson of Senate ways and means committee, said Wednesday.
Citing the recent study of Philippine Institute for Development Studies titled "Child Poverty in the Philippines," Angara said the poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon, with three out of four children from poor families are living in rural areas.
Angara insisted that instead of focusing in urban areas, the government should prioritize the rural areas, which he believed would contribute to country's economic growth.

"Government spending is largely focused in urban areas despite the fact that extreme poverty in the country occurs in less developed provinces," Angara said.

In Luzon, 63 percent or P579 billion of the total P915 billion propsed budget were allocated, excluding the allocation for the central offices.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region gets 31 percent or its share of P284 billion, bigger compared to Visayas' P143 billion (16 percent) Mindanao's P193 billion (21 percent).

He stressed the government should boost the country's agricultural sector to attract more investors by allocating some funds for farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, and large slaughterhouses.

"We should help the rural areas attract more investors and boost their tourism drive by providing infrastructure and job generation projects," Angara said.

"If we help our poor provinces rise from poverty, it would definitely result to a growing and lasting impact on the economic growth of the entire country," he added. (Sunnex)//

Author: Ruth Abbey Gita
Date: October 15, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

As rural Filipinos become increasingly impoverished, a lawmaker has called for more equitable development so that people in far-flung areas would benefit from improvements in the economy.

Government spending has been largely focused in urban areas despite the fact that extreme poverty occurs in less developed provinces. Government should spend more to develop our rural areas to unlock their potential in contributing to the national economy, Senator Sonny Angara said Wednesday.

Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee pointed to a recent study by the government think-tank, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), which showed that poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon with three out of four children from poor families living in rural areas.

The PIDs study, entitled Child Poverty in the Philippines, said there were already about 13.4 million Filipino children living in poverty in 2009.

Dr Celia Reyes, PIDS senior research fellow and lead author of the study, said the number represents 36 per cent or more than one-third of all Filipino children aged below 18.
Being poor, they suffer from deprivation of food, shelter, health, and education, she said.
According to the study, the disparity would not have been so severe had the government been more aware of the specific needs of provinces.
Angara for his part said rural areas needed to catch up with urban areas. We should boost their tourism drive by providing infrastructure and job generation projects. If we help our poor provinces rise from poverty, it would definitely result in a growing and lasting impact on the economic growth of the entire country, the senator said.
Increasing poverty
The PIDS, utilising data collected from national surveys and administrative records of various government agencies, also said both the number and severity of poverty among Filipino children have been increasing through the years.
Around 10 million of these children face at least two overlapping types of severe deprivation in basic amenities while an estimated .75 million (750,000) face at least five kinds of deprivation simultaneously, the study said.
It added that around four million Filipino children who did not have access to sanitary toilet facilities while four million did not have access to safe water. Another 260,000 kids did not have decent shelter.
There were 1.4 million children living in informal colonies, 6.5 million did not have access to electricity in their homes, and 3.4 million did not have means to access information, according to Reyess.
The study also identified the Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as the regions where the condition of children is dismal in many aspects and therefore should be prioritised for interventions.//

Author: Gilbert P. Felongco
Date: October 15, 2014
Source: Gulf News.com

Filipino entrepreneurs remain confident that the countrys economic environment would improve in the next six months.

In the Philippine release of the recent Global Entrepreneur Indicator (GEI) by the local chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), 60 percent of business owners said they expect a better operating environment, while 40 percent think it would stay the same. This is a stark difference versus the average global sentiment of 33.24-percent improvement, 2.72-percent deterioration, and 61.80-percent continuation of the status quo.

The survey also said that 73.33 percent of local businesses reported a favorable business environment while 93.33 percent predict it to be better in next six months.

The GEI, released globally every year for the last five years, uses five indicators such as job creation, outlook, employment, debt and revenues to forecast global trends. It reflects key figures from 2,800 members of the EO, mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across 46 countries.

The data in the Philippine study was based on the responses of local chapter members.

Opportunities

Data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and the Trade department said SMEs"which account for 99.6 percent of total registered enterprises, currently contribute 35 percent to the countrys gross domestic product.

Among other SME merits include the stimulation of local demand through job creation, competition and innovation.

At the backdrop of the Asean economic integration, which takes effect in 2015, SMEs are still faced with challenges such as access to finance and information.

To further the growth of the sector, the 2011 to 2016 micro, small and medium enterprise development plan indicated a target of increasing its contribution to 40 percent gross value added through government support in terms of competitiveness and productivity.//

Author:
Date: October 14, 2014
Source: Business Mirror

MORE FUNDS have been allotted to pay for administrative costs of a government cash transfer program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Monday.
Overhead costs in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have risen to 11% -- or P8.58 billion -- of its P78-billion total budget for 2015 since it will also pay for a study that will assess its impact, DSWD Secretary Corazon Dinky J. Soliman said during a Senate finance subcommittee hearing.

The figure is higher than the P5 billion or 8% set during the previous years P62.6-billion budget.

The rise in overhead costs are part of the third wave of the impact evaluation assessment. This would be conducted by a technical working group also composed of representatives from the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), as well as the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The study costs were quite high because there were 9,000 respondents, Ms. Soliman said during the hearing on Monday. She also said it was within the normal range.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto questioned the size of the administrative costs, especially since more employees would need to be allotted funds once they were approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The allocation for personnel services was also high because there is one municipal officer assigned for every 800 families enrolled under the program, said Ms. Soliman. The program currently has 4.4 million beneficiary families, with children aged 3-18.

The increase in overhead costs to P8.58 billion in 2015 from P5 billion the previous year will also cover salaries of employees -- including contractuals -- who will facilitate family development sessions and manage special cases that local DSWD offices would be unable to perform, Ms. Soliman said.

This was to ensure the families are really monitored and are provided the information and cash grants in a manner that we are sure would help, she added.

A suggestion by Mr. Recto to devolve the manpower needs to the local government units (LGUs) would only work if they were ready to absorb the cost, Ms. Soliman said.

Ms. Soliman also said that the House of Representatives had been hesitant to allocate the funds to the LGUs anyway.

Some of your colleagues in the House do not agree. They believe it should be a national government program, she said. We want to see the day its the LGU who are the primary implentators.

Although the funds for conditional cash transfer (CCT) has ballooned from its initial allotment of P21 billion in 2011 (with 2.3 million families covered), Ms. Soliman said the budget for 2016 should be similar with this years, before tapering off in the succeeding years.

25,000 households would be graduated from the program by 2015, after the last of beneficiary children finish high school.

As of date, 51% of the CCT programs P62.6-billion budget had been disbursed. Ms. Soliman explained that the amounts are released to beneficiary families during the first week of every fourth month.

The DSWD, she explained, would have to observe the families compliance with conditions set by the program (such as sending children to school and clinics regularly), before encoding the payroll at the national level. Hence, the last of CCT releases for the year may be issued on January. --

Author: Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato
Date: October 13, 2014
Source: BusinessWorld

Filipino entrepreneurs remain confident that the countrys economic environment would improve in the next six months, according to a survey conducted by a private business group.

The recent Global Entrepreneur Indicator (GEI) survey by the local chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) said 60 percent of business owners said they expect a better operating environment while 40 percent think it would stay the same.
This is a stark difference versus the average global sentiment of 33.24 percent improvement, 2.72 percent deterioration and 61.80 percent continuation of the status quo.
The survey also said that 73.33 percent of local businesses reported a favorable business environment while 93.33 percent predict it to be better in next six months.
The GEI, released globally every year for the last five years, uses five indicators such as job creation, outlook, employment, debt and revenues to forecast global trends.

It reflects key figures from 2,800 members of the Entrepreneurs Organization, mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs,) across 46 countries.

The data in the Philippine study were based on the responses of local chapter members.

Meanwhile, data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said SMEs, which account for 99.6 percent of total registered enterprises per Department of Trade and Industry, currently contribute 35 percent to the countrys GDP. Among other SME merits include the stimulation of local demand trough job creation, competition and innovation.

At the backdrop of the Asean Economic Integration, which takes effect in 2015, SMEs are still faced with challenges such as access to finance and information.

To further the growth of the sector, the 2011-2016 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Plan indicated a target of increasing its contribution to 40 percent gross value added through government support in terms of competitiveness and productivity.

Author:
Date: October 13, 2014
Source: The Daily Tribune

President Benigno Noy Aquino III is winding down his last two years in office. However, Malacaang has not given up sending signals on the possibility that the incumbent administration could stay in office through concocted popular clamor. To boost this claim, the latest Palace-friendly survey purportedly showed President Aquinos popularity slide has been arrested and, in fact, has rebounded.
As he himself trumpets at every opportunity, President Aquino insists he could not possibly ignore the voice of his bosses who wanted him to continue his reforms which he can only do if allowed to stay beyond his term ending on June 30, 2016. But this would require changing the rules of the game to enable the sitting President to extend his stay in office by amending the countrys 1987 Constitution.
However, such rhetoric does not match the realities on the ground. The leaders of both chambers of the 16th Congress have time and again publicly declared they would not accommodate any political amendments of the Constitution. So it would do well for inconsequential members of the ruling administrations Liberal Party (LP) in Congress to cease foisting in the publics mind their persistent exhortations for P-Noy to push for Charter change (Cha-cha) to extend his term.
For Cha-cha initiatives to succeed, congressional leaders are ready to support and push amendments to ease existing constitutional restrictions related to the provisions that affect the Philippine economy. The Cha-cha initiatives now pending in Congress are projected to help fulfill President Aquinos inclusive growth policy for all Filipinos to share in the desired economic prosperity.
But instead of prosperity, more and more Filipinos are now being included in the ranks of the poor. The most recent findings by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) showed roughly one out of every three Filipino children has been living in abject poverty with their families.
According to the PIDS findings, the poverty problem goes beyond mere lack of income for these childrens families. The PIDS cited the incidence of poverty averaged nearly 25 percent of the entire Philippine population of 100 million as of latest census in 2013.
These official figures were validated by the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) which noted the top three sectors experiencing extreme poverty in the country were fisher folk, farmers, and children. The per capita poverty threshold was pegged at P9,626 as of last year.
The lack of inclusivity of economic growth, being vulnerable and prone to disasters and natural calamities, and rapid population growth are expected to worsen the child poverty incidence in the country in the next years, the same government study warned.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Arsenio Balisacan warned last year the series of calamities to hit the country with catastrophic magnitude may impact again on the poverty problem. Balisacan rang the alarm bells after the most devastating natural calamities, from super typhoon Haiyan in Leyte and Samar to the earthquake that crumbed Bohol coming one after the other last year, wrought much economic losses.
The NEDA chief admitted these twin disasters could push more Filipino families into becoming transient poor. As defined by the NEDA, transient poor refer to people previously not poor but who were suddenly pushed below the poverty line because of untoward incidents, including natural calamities.
The latest official statistics on poverty showed that 27.9 percent of Filipinos were living below the poverty line in the first semester of 2012.
The ranks of transient poor may swell further as another natural disaster threatens to disrupt the lives of people in Albay. After more than three weeks of manifesting signs of possible eruption, Mt. Mayon started spewing lava flow yesterday. The national and local governments have mobilized additional relief operations after initially evacuating residents living around the 6-kilometer danger zone.
As done before, long period of evacuation naturally forced families to leave behind not only their homes but also their crops, poultry and other livelihood activities. How many more would become transient poor as a result of this Mayon disaster?
Meanwhile, government agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducted a forum last week and turned to the countrys social scientists and statisticians to scientifically identify the countrys poor. In that forum, the DSWD adopted a new target of the administrations anti-poverty program which they now classified as near poor.
The DSWD defines near poor families as non-poor families that live at a knife-edge with little or no buffer against the economic shocks. These families, the DSWD explained, can easily become poor when faced with crisis as a result of economic dislocation. A threshold of P18,935 per year per capita income for an individual for a family of five is being proposed to be classified as near poor.
As the implementing agency of the governments anti-poverty program dubbed as conditional cash transfer (CCT), the DSWD is mandated to develop, implement, and coordinate social protection and poverty reduction programs and services for and with the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged. DSWD Secretary Corazon Dinky Soliman announced they hope to formulate a policy on the near poor soon. Once a near poor threshold was set, Soliman said, the government can set up social protection programs to keep the near poor from becoming poor.
Sadly, these swelling ranks of Filipinos living in poverty are now either classified as near poor or transient poor " the latest terms to describe the new statuses in life they acquired during these past four years of the Aquino administration.
Amid the squalor and poverty that we Filipinos have to live with in our nation, many of our political leaders who project themselves as pro-poor have been at each others necks actually to score brownie points for themselves. In particular, these pro-poor politicians have only moist eyes for the next presidential elections in May, 2016.
As leaders of the countrys political system, they have in their hands the power to at least make a difference in helping improve the lives of the people, especially those disadvantaged and marginalized by extreme poverty.
Every administration seeks to address the high incidence of poverty in the country but always getting nowhere near to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Whether transient poor or near poor, these Filipinos are in the throes of full-fledged poverty. P-Noys splitting hairs over definition of poor does not solve the problem.//

Author: New income status in the Phl
Date: October 13, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

President Benigno Noy Aquino III is winding down his last two years in office. However, Malacaang has not given up sending signals on the possibility that the incumbent administration could stay in office through concocted popular clamor. To boost this claim, the latest Palace-friendly survey purportedly showed President Aquinos popularity slide has been arrested and, in fact, has rebounded.
As he himself trumpets at every opportunity, President Aquino insists he could not possibly ignore the voice of his bosses who wanted him to continue his reforms which he can only do if allowed to stay beyond his term ending on June 30, 2016. But this would require changing the rules of the game to enable the sitting President to extend his stay in office by amending the countrys 1987 Constitution.
However, such rhetoric does not match the realities on the ground. The leaders of both chambers of the 16th Congress have time and again publicly declared they would not accommodate any political amendments of the Constitution. So it would do well for inconsequential members of the ruling administrations Liberal Party (LP) in Congress to cease foisting in the publics mind their persistent exhortations for P-Noy to push for Charter change (Cha-cha) to extend his term.
For Cha-cha initiatives to succeed, congressional leaders are ready to support and push amendments to ease existing constitutional restrictions related to the provisions that affect the Philippine economy. The Cha-cha initiatives now pending in Congress are projected to help fulfill President Aquinos inclusive growth policy for all Filipinos to share in the desired economic prosperity.
But instead of prosperity, more and more Filipinos are now being included in the ranks of the poor. The most recent findings by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) showed roughly one out of every three Filipino children has been living in abject poverty with their families.
According to the PIDS findings, the poverty problem goes beyond mere lack of income for these childrens families. The PIDS cited the incidence of poverty averaged nearly 25 percent of the entire Philippine population of 100 million as of latest census in 2013.
These official figures were validated by the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) which noted the top three sectors experiencing extreme poverty in the country were fisher folk, farmers, and children. The per capita poverty threshold was pegged at P9,626 as of last year.
The lack of inclusivity of economic growth, being vulnerable and prone to disasters and natural calamities, and rapid population growth are expected to worsen the child poverty incidence in the country in the next years, the same government study warned.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Arsenio Balisacan warned last year the series of calamities to hit the country with catastrophic magnitude may impact again on the poverty problem. Balisacan rang the alarm bells after the most devastating natural calamities, from super typhoon Haiyan in Leyte and Samar to the earthquake that crumbed Bohol coming one after the other last year, wrought much economic losses.
The NEDA chief admitted these twin disasters could push more Filipino families into becoming transient poor. As defined by the NEDA, transient poor refer to people previously not poor but who were suddenly pushed below the poverty line because of untoward incidents, including natural calamities.
The latest official statistics on poverty showed that 27.9 percent of Filipinos were living below the poverty line in the first semester of 2012.
The ranks of transient poor may swell further as another natural disaster threatens to disrupt the lives of people in Albay. After more than three weeks of manifesting signs of possible eruption, Mt. Mayon started spewing lava flow yesterday. The national and local governments have mobilized additional relief operations after initially evacuating residents living around the 6-kilometer danger zone.
As done before, long period of evacuation naturally forced families to leave behind not only their homes but also their crops, poultry and other livelihood activities. How many more would become transient poor as a result of this Mayon disaster?
Meanwhile, government agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducted a forum last week and turned to the countrys social scientists and statisticians to scientifically identify the countrys poor. In that forum, the DSWD adopted a new target of the administrations anti-poverty program which they now classified as near poor.
The DSWD defines near poor families as non-poor families that live at a knife-edge with little or no buffer against the economic shocks. These families, the DSWD explained, can easily become poor when faced with crisis as a result of economic dislocation. A threshold of P18,935 per year per capita income for an individual for a family of five is being proposed to be classified as near poor.
As the implementing agency of the governments anti-poverty program dubbed as conditional cash transfer (CCT), the DSWD is mandated to develop, implement, and coordinate social protection and poverty reduction programs and services for and with the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged. DSWD Secretary Corazon Dinky Soliman announced they hope to formulate a policy on the near poor soon. Once a near poor threshold was set, Soliman said, the government can set up social protection programs to keep the near poor from becoming poor.
Sadly, these swelling ranks of Filipinos living in poverty are now either classified as near poor or transient poor " the latest terms to describe the new statuses in life they acquired during these past four years of the Aquino administration.
Amid the squalor and poverty that we Filipinos have to live with in our nation, many of our political leaders who project themselves as pro-poor have been at each others necks actually to score brownie points for themselves. In particular, these pro-poor politicians have only moist eyes for the next presidential elections in May, 2016.
As leaders of the countrys political system, they have in their hands the power to at least make a difference in helping improve the lives of the people, especially those disadvantaged and marginalized by extreme poverty.
Every administration seeks to address the high incidence of poverty in the country but always getting nowhere near to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Whether transient poor or near poor, these Filipinos are in the throes of full-fledged poverty. P-Noys splitting hairs over definition of poor does not solve the problem.//

Author: New income status in the Phl
Date: October 13, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

In Washington last Tuesday, a report on global child labor cited the Philippines for being among several countries that have gained headway in confronting the problem. The US Labor Department report included the Philippines in a list of countries that achieved significant advancement in recent years in reducing child labor.
A drive around Metro Manila, however, will indicate how much remains to be done. Children sell garlands or offer to wipe car windshields in the streets. In the grimy charcoal-making communities in the city of Manila, many of the workers are children. Outside Metro Manila, teenage boys are busy these days making firecrackers for the Yuletide season under hazardous conditions in makeshift factories.
As the US report came out, the government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies released its findings showing that approximately 36 percent of Filipino children below 18 years old live in abject poverty. PIDS officials reported that the number of poor Filipino children and severity of their impoverishment have been increasing in recent years, with no indication that there would soon be a dramatic reduction. As of 2009, the number of impoverished Filipino children stood at 13.4 million.
Poverty is linked to child labor. In 2011, according to the PIDS study, 5.5 million children were forced to disrupt their education and work to augment the family income. Its not unusual for parents themselves to sell their children for sex.
Although basic education is free, children from impoverished households are often forced to drop out of school at an early age to help in farms or other marginal livelihood activities of their parents such as fishing or selling small items in the market. Teenagers leave rural areas to work as household helpers in cities, with their earnings being used to send siblings to school.
Such situations make it difficult to stop child labor in developing countries. Governments, however, cannot afford to stop trying. The ideal tack is to create employment and livelihood opportunities so that parents do not need to make their children work. Failing in that, the government must do what it can to protect children from labor exploitation.//

Author:
Date: October 12, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -- The number of children living in poverty in the Philippines continues to climb despite the country's recent economic gains, a study by a government think tank showed.
Child Poverty in the Philippines by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies estimated there were already around 13.4 million Filipino children -- 36 percent or more than one-third of all Filipino children aged below 18 -- living in poverty and deprived of adequate food, shelter, health, and education in 2009.
The study used data collected from national surveys and administrative records of various government agencies, PIDS said.
Aside from growing numbers, the study said the severity of poverty among Filipino children has also worsened through the years.
Around 10 million of these children face at least two overlapping types of severe deprivation in basic amenities while an estimated .75 million face at least five kinds of deprivation simultaneously, PIDS said.
In 2009, the study found that 4 million children did not have access to sanitary toilet facilities while 4 million did not have access to safe water. Another 260,000 kids did not have decent shelter.
And with population growth, the lack of inclusivity of economic growth, and the exposure of the country to natural calamities, are expected to worsen child poverty within the next few years, it warned.
At the same time, it explained that the problem of poverty goes beyond mere lack of income or assets for these children's families. Their situation speaks of a roster of factors that range from lack of appropriate skills to inability to control fertility intertwined with lack of job opportunities and other economic problems.
There were 1.4 million children living in informal settlements, 6.5 million did not have access to electricity in their homes, and 3.4 million did not have means to access information, Dr. Celia Reyes, PIDS senior research fellow and lead author of the study, said.
In education, the study found that the percentage of students who were able to complete elementary and secondary levels (has) hardly improved.
Largely because of poverty, 5.5 million children are forced to work in 2011 to augment family income. These children are unable to pursue their education and this affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future, the study noted.
At the same time, the study found that poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon with three out of four children from poor families are living in rural areas.
Poor children from rural areas also accounted for eight of every 10 severely deprived of safe water and sanitary toilets.
The study found childrens conditions dismal in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
While Reyes acknowledged that the updated Philippine Development Plan recognizes the need to have spatial focus to address the specific needs of provinces and has identified priority provinces, she also stressed that, a more targeted approach will hopefully address the varying needs of children across the provinces.
In the Philippines, despite the country's recent economic progress, poverty continues to affect millions of families with young children. This is visible in the number of young ones who wander the streets in urban areas, scavenge for resources, or those who, at an early age, are forced to drop out of school to work to supplement their family income, Reyes said.//

Author:
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Interksyon TV5

IDS launches new open knowledge hub at this year's Open Development Camp. A key aspect of the hub's design is to raise the profile of diverse perspectives on development, paying particular attention to research content from developing countries.
The new Oriel Open Knowlege Hub is being launched on Friday 10 October, at Open Development Camp 2014. IDS is hosting a panel discussion which will focus on the present realities of open content in International Development, looking at the challenges of operating in a multilingual/ multi genre world. This event will be webcast live and available to watch again.
The hub is a collaborative "Open Data" platform for sharing digital content about development that aims to improve the supply and accessibility of content that supports evidence-informed policy making and practice by development actors. A key aspect of the hub's design is to raise the profile of diverse perspectives on development, paying particular attention to research content from developing countries.
Peter Mason, Project Technical Lead said "The Oriel Open Knowledge Hub project works collaboratively with partners, using peer support to help think through the issues and implications of opening up data, through shared learning and via technical development... Working together in this way will enable us to share content better and to link us all into the new world of open knowledge."
Sheila Siar, Philippines Institute for Development Studies, one of the international partners, said "[The Hub project] means innovation... .not just innovation when it comes to the use of new technologies and tools but also innovations in our approaches to knowledge brokering and intermediation..."
Three services hosted by IDS - British Library for Development Studies (BLDS), Eldis and BRIDGE - will contribute to the Hub. Other organisations that have relevant material and are committed to making this available as open content, can contribute to the Hub. The team are keen to work with new partners who share the Oriel Open Knowledge Hub goal of raising the profile of Southern perspectives on development.
OK Hub components
There are various components to the Hub that have all been developed in parallel. These include:
The Hub admin interface: This is the interface by which contributions of content to the Hub can be managed and updated.
The Hub data store: The data store itself has been developed using the open source Drupal CMS and will house a range of documents that have been submitted by our launch partners.
The Hub augmentation layer: This is where the mapping of different data structures to connect one set of data to the others happens. E.g. mapping taxonomies.
The Hub SOLR index: SOLR is a clever OpenSource search index that makes it possible for users to construct complex searches of the content (using the API) to identify what's useful to them.
The Hub API: The application programming interface is how users of the Hub will gain access to the content. Associated documentation and an "Explorer" to help people develop API queries has also been developed.
Plugins and widgets: an initial set of plugins allowing popular content management systems to interact with the Hub have been developed. The project aims to develop further tools to help showcase content that are relevant to partner's needs.
The Hub Data Explorer: This tool provides a simple interface that enables developers, website managers and content providers to explore the scope of the content sources in the Hub without having to register to use the API.
The Hub Website: A brochure website for the Oriel Open Knowledge Hub project is being launched. Okhub.org will bring all of this together in one space.
The Oriel Open Knowledge Hub is an output of the Global Open Knowledge Hub (GOKH) project, an IDS programme funded by DFID from April 2013 to April 2016.
For more information, please contact Kelly Shephard.


Author: Kelly Shephard
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: IDS

MANILA, Philippines " Despite the Philippines recent economic gains, a new study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) reported that the number of children living in poverty in the country continues to increase.
The report, Child Poverty in the Philippines, found out that around 13.4 million Filipino children were experiencing poverty in 2009, and that the number and severity of poverty have been steadily increasing in the past years.
According to the studys lead author Dr Celia Reyes, the number represented 36% or more than a third of all Filipino children below 18 years old.
Being poor, they suffer from deprivations of food, shelter, health, and education, Reyes added.
Deprived
The key findings of the study discovered that around 750,000 Filipino children face 5 kinds of deprivations of basic amenities, while an estimated 10 million Filipino children face at least 2 kinds of deprivations simultaneously.
Access to sanitary toilet facilities and safe water remained the biggest deprivations, with 4 million Filipino children separately being deprived of each need.
Some 260,000 children also did not have access to basic and decent shelters in 2009.
There were 1.4 million children living in informal settlements, 6.5 million did not have access to electricity in their homes, and 3.4 million did not have means to access information, Reyes added.
The biggest problem in the area of education were the low cohort survival and poor level of achievement. According to the study, the percentage of students who completed their basic education in the past decade did not improve.
Largely because of poverty, 5.5 million children are forced to work in 2011 to augment family income. These children are unable to pursue their education and this affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future, the study noted.
The cause of poverty?
The study suggested that the problem of poverty goes beyond the lack of income or assets in urban poor families. The lack of job opportunities and other economic problems are intertwined with issues such as the lack of skill and the inability to control fertility.
The exposure of the country to worsening natural calamities, population growth, and the lack of inclusivity of economic growth are also expected to worsen child poverty in the future.
In the Philippines, poverty continues to affect millions of families with young children. This is visible in the number of young ones who wander the streets in urban areas, scavenge for resources, or those who, at an early age, are forced to drop out of school to work to supplement their family income, Reyes explained. (READ: How to fix the education system? Think like a businessman)
Meanwhile, the study identified Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as the regions where there should be prioritized interventions due to the dismal condition of children.
Extreme weather conditions have also impeded economic growth in provinces with high poverty incidence, specifically those in Eastern Visayas and Compostela Valley. " Rappler.com

Author:
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Rappler.com

A study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) titled "Child Poverty in the Philippines" showed that the child poverty rate in the country continues to climb despite of the country's recent economic gains.

Data showed that in 2009, around 13.4 million which is 36 percent or one-third of all children below 18 are considered income poor. There were around 4 million children who were severely deprived of sanitary toilet facilities and lacked access to safe water. Around 260,000 lacked decent shelter.

"Poverty in the country, whether in terms of income or deprivation in amenities as basic as water and sanitation, is largely a rural phenomenon. Three out of 4 income poor children are living in the rural areas. Eight (seven) of ten who are severely deprived of sanitary toilet (safe water) are found in rural areas," the study stated.

Because of poverty, children are forced to work to earn family income and stops pursuing education which affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future. The new K-12 program posed another challenges for families to keep their children in school.

The study identified regions Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao where the condition of children is "dismal" in many aspects.

The updated Philippine Development Plan recognizes the need to have spatial focus to address the specific needs of provinces and has identified priority provinces. A more targeted approach will hopefully address the varying needs of children across the provinces, PIDS Senior Researcher Dr. Celia Reyes said.

National surveys and administrative records of various government agencies were used to assess and conclude the key findings of the study.//

Author: Patricia Lourdes Viray
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/10/10/1378649/pids-child-poverty-rate-climbing

Child poverty head count rate by region. Philippine Institute for Development Studies
MANILA, Philippine s - A study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) titled "Child Poverty in the Philippines" showed that the child poverty rate in the country continues to climb despite of the country's recent economic gains.

Data showed that in 2009, around 13.4 million which is 36 percent or one-third of all children below 18 are considered income poor. There were around 4 million children who were severely deprived of sanitary toilet facilities and lacked access to safe water. Around 260,000 lacked decent shelter.

"Poverty in the country, whether in terms of income or deprivation in amenities as basic as water and sanitation, is largely a rural phenomenon. Three out of 4 income poor children are living in the rural areas. Eight (seven) of ten who are severely deprived of sanitary toilet (safe water) are found in rural areas," the study stated.

Because of poverty, children are forced to work to earn family income and stops pursuing education which affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future. The new K-12 program posed another challenges for families to keep their children in school.



Author: Manila Standard
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Oryza.com

Filipino entrepreneurs remain confident the countrys economic environment will improve in the next six months.
The Global Entrepreneur Indicator released by the local chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization showed 60 percent of business owners expected a better operating environment, while 40 percent believed it would stay the same.
Business sentiment in the Philippines is more positive than the global average. About 33.24 percent of global respondents expected improvement, 2.72 percent, deterioration and 61.8 percent, status quo.
About 73.3 percent of local businesses reported a favorable business environment while 93.33 percent predicted it would be better in the next six months.
The GEI, released globally every year for the last five years, uses five indicators such as job creation, outlook, employment, debt and revenues to forecast global trends.
It reflects key figures from 2,800 members of the Entrepreneurs Organization, mostly SMEs, across 46 countries.
The Philippine data was based on the responses of local chapter members.
Data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said small and medium enterprises, which account for 99.6 percent of total registered enterprises, currently contribute 35 percent to the gross domestic product.//

Author:
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Select Article Source

Filipino entrepreneurs remain confident the countrys economic environment will improve in the next six months.
The Global Entrepreneur Indicator released by the local chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization showed 60 percent of business owners expected a better operating environment, while 40 percent believed it would stay the same.
Business sentiment in the Philippines is more positive than the global average. About 33.24 percent of global respondents expected improvement, 2.72 percent, deterioration and 61.8 percent, status quo.
About 73.3 percent of local businesses reported a favorable business environment while 93.33 percent predicted it would be better in the next six months.
The GEI, released globally every year for the last five years, uses five indicators such as job creation, outlook, employment, debt and revenues to forecast global trends.
It reflects key figures from 2,800 members of the Entrepreneurs Organization, mostly SMEs, across 46 countries.
The Philippine data was based on the responses of local chapter members.
Data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said small and medium enterprises, which account for 99.6 percent of total registered enterprises, currently contribute 35 percent to the gross domestic product.//

Author:
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Manila Standard Today

MANILA, Philippines " Filipino entrepreneurs remain confident that the country's economic environment will improve in the next 6 months, according to a survey released by Entrepreneurs' Organization.

In the Philippine release of the latest Global Entrepreneur Indicator (GEI), 60% of business owners said they expect a better operating environment, while 40% think it wiould only stay the same.

The Filipino entrepreneurs sentiment is a stark difference from the global sentiment of 33.24% improvement; 2.72% deterioration; and 61.8% status quo.

Also, 73.33% said that local businesses reported a favorable business environment while 93.33% predict it to be better in the next 6 months, the survey showed.

Hitting the 2014 economic growth target of 6.5% to 7.5% is still possible for the Philippines, if historical performance will repeat itself.

A 6.9% growth in the second half of 2014 is needed to achieve the lower end of the 6.5% to 7.5% full-year growth target, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Arsenio Balisacan previously said.

In its 5th year, the GEI is a twice-yearly gauge of the near-term global economic outlook that delivers data on job creation, outlook, employment, debt, and revenues to forecast global trends. It reflects key figures from 2,851 members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across 46 countries. The information from the Philippine study was based from responses of local chapter members.

Meanwhile, Philippine small and medium enterprises (SMEs) " which account for 99.6% of total registered enterprises per Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) figures " currently contributes 35% to the countrys gross domestic products (GDP), the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) data showed.

With the upcoming ASEAN integration in 2015, SMEs are still faced with challenges such as access to finance and information. (READ: 'ASEAN integration an opportunity, not a threat to PH SMEs')

To improve SME competitiveness and productivity, the 2011-2016 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development Plan indicated a target of increasing MSME contribution to 40% gross value added through government support. " Rappler.com

Author:
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Rappler.com

The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) has urged the government to further improve the countrys infrastructure and make the Philippines a competitive hub to tap into the regional and global production networks.
With the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, the issue of adequate transport and logistics had been a concern by the government and the private sector.
PIDS has recommended three essential courses of action " policy and legislative reforms, investment, and improved governance.
PIDS president Gilberto Llanto and senior research fellow Adoracion Navarro noted that there have been successes in regulatory reforms even as restrictions to better logistics and trade facilitation remain.
Llanto and Navarro stressed that the amendment of existing laws and even the enactment of new laws are needed especially on issues such as limits to foreign equity participation, the movement of international government cargoes only through flag carriers, cabotage restriction, and the port regulator acting as an operator at the same time.
They also urged government to pour additional investments to ease other restrictions, citing the countrys capacity-constrained airports and congested Metro Manila roads and improvements in operations such as in customs administration.
The AECs goal of establishing a free trade area will ensure the free flow of goods, services, skilled labor, and investments will depend heavily on the quality of the countrys road, air, and sea transportation.
The ongoing congestion problem at the Port of Manila, which has affected a large area of the metropolis, serves as a stark reminder of the significant work that still needs to be done to upgrade the countrys infrastructure.
Agriculture and natural resources experts Roehlano Briones and Danilo Israel, meanwhile, examined the supply chain choke points in crude coconut oil and aquatic produce.
No major choke points were found for crude coconut oil from mill site to export stages, but cost and delay factors were present at the farm-to-mill stage such as low farm productivity, poor postharvest practices and inefficiencies in marketing to the mill.
For sea products, choke points included domestic road conditions, high-cost and inadequate interisland shipping, the conditions in some ports, compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations, and the inadequate number of certified laboratories.
Israel and Briones called for road investments, a competition policy in domestic shipping, industry restructuring in the case of coconut, and the adoption of SPS measures in the case of fisheries.//

Author: Edu Lopez
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines -- The number of children living in poverty in the Philippines continues to climb despite the country's recent economic gains, a study by a government think tank showed.

Child Poverty in the Philippines by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies estimated there were already around 13.4 million Filipino children -- 36 percent or more than one-third of all Filipino children aged below 18 -- living in poverty and deprived of adequate food, shelter, health, and education in 2009.
The study used data collected from national surveys and administrative records of various government agencies, PIDS said.

Aside from growing numbers, the study said the severity of poverty among Filipino children has also worsened through the years.

Around 10 million of these children face at least two overlapping types of severe deprivation in basic amenities while an estimated .75 million face at least five kinds of deprivation simultaneously, PIDS said.

In 2009, the study found that 4 million children did not have access to sanitary toilet facilities while 4 million did not have access to safe water. Another 260,000 kids did not have decent shelter.

And with population growth, the lack of inclusivity of economic growth, and the exposure of the country to natural calamities, are expected to worsen child poverty within the next few years, it warned.

At the same time, it explained that the problem of poverty goes beyond mere lack of income or assets for these children's families. Their situation speaks of a roster of factors that range from lack of appropriate skills to inability to control fertility intertwined with lack of job opportunities and other economic problems.

There were 1.4 million children living in informal settlements, 6.5 million did not have access to electricity in their homes, and 3.4 million did not have means to access information, Dr. Celia Reyes, PIDS senior research fellow and lead author of the study, said.

In education, the study found that the percentage of students who were able to complete elementary and secondary levels (has) hardly improved.

Largely because of poverty, 5.5 million children are forced to work in 2011 to augment family income. These children are unable to pursue their education and this affects their ability to find better work opportunities in the future, the study noted.

At the same time, the study found that poverty in the country is largely a rural phenomenon with three out of four children from poor families are living in rural areas.

Poor children from rural areas also accounted for eight of every 10 severely deprived of safe water and sanitary toilets.
The study found childrens conditions dismal in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

While Reyes acknowledged that the updated Philippine Development Plan recognizes the need to have spatial focus to address the specific needs of provinces and has identified priority provinces, she also stressed that, a more targeted approach will hopefully address the varying needs of children across the provinces.

In the Philippines, despite the country's recent economic progress, poverty continues to affect millions of families with young children. This is visible in the number of young ones who wander the streets in urban areas, scavenge for resources, or those who, at an early age, are forced to drop out of school to work to supplement their family income, Reyes said.

Author:
Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Interksyon TV5

MANILA, Philippines " When Filipinos are asked to describe their financial status, whether based on income or purchasing power, 3 terms are usually heard: mayaman (rich), may kaya (well-off), and mahirap (poor).

The boundaries of each classification are often blurry. Arguments have emerged over when one can be considered rich or middle class. In most cases, those belonging to the poor sector are the easiest to identify, since a total poverty threshold (TPT) is set by the government.

But according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), it is very important to also identify those who are just a step away from poverty.

In ending poverty, we should not only target those living already in poverty but also people who are already at risk of becoming poor, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman emphasized.

Near-poor

In a forum organized by the DSWD, the Philippine Statistics Authority, and the Asian Development Bank on Tuesday, October 7, the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) presented a study that defined those on the brink of poverty.

The study, entitled, Analysis of the Near-Poor Challenge and Strategy Development Ideas," sought to distinguish the lower-half of the sector not classified as poor. It also recommended how they can be prevented from completely falling into the poverty trap.

According to Dr Vicente B. Paqueo of PIDS, the primary concern behind the study is the increasing number of households above the poverty line that have a high risk of falling into poverty.

Near-poor are households at risk of becoming poor or are on the edge, just above the TPT. The proposed near-poor threshold (NPT) is 1.28% above the TPT.

Given that the official TPT in the Philippines is currently at P9,686 ($216*), the NPT would be around P12,400 ($277).

Meanwhile, those households above the TPT but below the NPT have a 50% probability of becoming poor again.

According to the study, the households considered near-poor have enough assets that contribute to meeting the basic needs of the family. So when a problem arises that may diminish their assets, such as a health problem, this will result in inability to obtain the basic necessities.

Other characteristics of a near-poor household are:

Of small family size
Mostly headed by a male
Household head is educated
Mostly non-agricultural workers
More unemployed
Have access to electricity
Have own house and lot made of strong materials
Why study?

Data gathered from 2004 to 2010 of the Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) showed that 38.6% of total households in the Philippines are cyclical poor, while those that are persistently poor are at 8%. Also called balik-balik, cyclical poor are families in and out of poverty for a given period of time.

By classifying households in the Philippines, government programs can respond to the needs of each sector, instead of a uniform type of assistance for all sectors. (READ: Community-level approach: Answer to PH poverty?)

If you are able to group households or rank them based on their poverty risk, you can make better and target-driven programs, Paqueo said.

The near-poor, according to him, are easier to prevent from falling back to poverty. Nonetheless, the concerned agencies should promote a win-win situation."

Best thing to do is we find measures and ways to serve the near-poor and poor, Paqueo emphasized.

Empowering the near-poor

The study recommended that to assist those in the near-poor sector, government reforms are necessary. Paqueo cited as an area of reform the minimum wage law which, he said, discriminates against women, the young, inexperienced, and the poor.

Another recommendation is funding and implementation of public infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, flood control measures, health facilities, and school buildings as these will contribute to maximizing the assets of households.

Finally, the government should develop a social assistance program that will target the near-poor " much like what the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is doing. The essence of this, according to the study, is to bank on the savings of the near-poor which they can use as capital for livelihood.

If these plans to assist the near-poor will become a reality, it is estimated to cost P6 billion ($134 million)*, almost 10% of the total 2014 4Ps of P62 billion ($1.38 billion).

Evidence-based gov't programs

Near-poor households will be screened and identified by DSWDs National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

The program, also called Listahanan, is an information management system that identifies details of those in need in the Philippines.

Soliman believes that by pursuing this study, the government can employ a cost-effective poverty alleviation program.

Evidence-based policy-making should be a reality, the DSWD chief emphasized. Weve been working on eradicating poverty but if we consistently use data as basis of policies, we would become more effective.

Meanwhile, DSWD Undersecretary Florita Villar is confident that implementing the recommendations of the study will help ensure that no sector in the country will be left out.

Unless we have these data, we cannot justify programs that will target the near-poor. We should not wait for them to become poor before we provide assistance, Villar said. " Rappler.com

Author: Jodesz Gavilan
Date: October 08, 2014
Source: Rappler.com

ILOILO CITY, Oct. 1 (PIA6) - - The National Economic and Development Authority VI through its Regional Research Utilization Forum provided anew a venue to discuss and share the findings and recommendations of four significant studies.
Dr. Gilberto Llanto, President of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) who discussed his study titled Water Financing Program in the Philippines: Are We Making Progress led the presentors during the activity held at the NEDA VI Office, Iloilo City, September 30, 2014.
Llantos study has identified seven policy recommendations for a coherent water financing framework. It recommends to improve and maintain the database on the water sector and make it accessible to analysts and the public; rationalize the financing programs in the sector; ask Government Financing Institutions to develop more innovative solutions to the water financing problem; and have a greater private sector involvement through innovative models of financing, PPPs, output-based schemes.
The study further recommends to improve the policy and regulatory framework for the water sector; consolidate small and unviable water districts/utilities to take advantage of scale and scope economies; and reform and strengthen the Local Water Utilities Administration.
Other presentors from PIDS, an attached agency of NEDA, were Dr. Danilo Israel for his study Assessment of the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Reforestation Program of DENR and Dr. Roehlano Briones for his study Impact Assessment of the Agricultural Production Support Services of the DA on the Income of Poor Farmers/Fisherfolk:Review of Evidence.
Engr. Efren Linan, Professor of Capiz State University also shared his study Drastic Model and GIS-Based Assessment of Groundwater Vulnerability to Contamination in Boracay Island.
NEDA 6 Assistant Regional Director Raul Anlocotan said the Regional Research Utilization Forum is being sponsored by NEDA 6 every year in order to promote the utilization and sharing of information and knowledge on researches that are conducted in and outside of the region which directly or indirectly impact Western Visayas.
The forum attended by representatives of the provincial governments, highly urbanized cities, state colleges and universities, regional agencies and private sector organizations in the region also aimed to determine what needs to be done in terms of policy-making, program development and better projects implementation. (JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)
- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=931412143873#sthash.pPT27LD2.dpuf

Author: Lilibeth A. French
Date: October 01, 2014
Source: PIA

CEBU, Philippines " Central Visayas is improving in terms of addressing certain health concerns, a Department of Health study shows.

Celia Reyes, senior research fellow at the DOHs Philippine Institute for Development Studies, told local government officials yesterday that the regions performance per sector had changed for the better.

It includes achievements lowering infant mortality rate, under-five mortality rate, prevalence of underweight children aged zero to five years old; antenatal care from health professional, delivery by a health professional; facility-based delivery; immunization; and fertility rate.
Reyes said that comparative analysis of 2008 to 2011 data showed that Central Visayas region ranked six of 12 regions in terms of general health condition.
Region 7 is in the middle group. You are not the top performer but also not at the bottom. The areas where the region has to improve on would basically be on maternal mortality rate, but this is the same for almost all regions in the country, she said.
Among the improvements noted is that with infant mortality rate declining from 25 in 2008 to 22 in 2011, Central Visayas recorded 23 cases; while tallying 34 cases in under five mortality rate compared to the national average of 34.
In terms of prevalence of underweight children aged zero to five years old, the national average is 20.7 while Central Visayas got 19.4.
Also, PIDS Consultant Oscar Picazo said that Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage has increased substantially, including that for eligible households utilization; health facilities have became closer to the public; and the case rate system of average cost of major cases have declined.
Picazo, though, said there remains the low turnout of households maximizing the health insurance coverage due to lack of education, despite coverage sponsorship.
Also the out of pocket expenditures continue to increase. The catastrophic expenditure of out of pocket is at two percent of the total population. At 100 million (members), it translates to around 2 million, Picazo said.
Catastrophic expenses, he explained, are those spent for treating cancer, serious heart disease, and end-stage organ failure, which consume at least 40 percent of total household income.
He recommended that focus should be on disease prevention as opposed to aiding end-stage illnesses.
Picazo likewise suggested an expansion of benefits which, according to him, requires the increase of premium payments, as the country remains to be among the lowest in premium payments compared with other countries. " /RHM (FREEMAN)

Author: Jessa J. Agua
Date: October 29, 2014
Source: Freeman

SENATOR Grace Poe urged Monday the government to take immediate response to address hunger and malnutrition in the country.
In her privilege speech Monday, Poe said the government must expand support to fill the poor Filipino's empty stomachs.
"Recent survey found that 43 percent or an estimated 9.3 million families considered the type of food they eat as food-poor," she said, citing that October's "World Food Day" is "no food day" to many Filipinos.
Poe insisted while the country's gross domestic product (GDP) increases, the number of "Gutom na Pilipino" also increases.
Based on a survey, Poe said 87 percent of households were found resorting to "cooking alternatives."
She said others make do with "ulam substitute," noting the top five alternatives -- soy sauce, bagoong, tomato, salt, and coffee.
In order to meet basic needs, she said a family of five must have P7,890 a month, P5, 513 of which is for basic food.
"P5,513 translates to P184 a day for a family of five, or P36 per day per person, or P12 per meal per person," Poe said.
She said hunger in the country tend to suffer Filipino children the most.
"Hunger, like war, punishes children most," Poe said. "Children bear the scars of hunger and poverty -- and some of the wounds never heal," she added.
Citing the study of Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Poe said 5.5 million out of 13.4 million of poor children below 18 were forced to look for jobs to become "rice winners."
She said the country would not be able to build the foundation of its future on emaciated bodies that are no longer in school.
She insisted that food must be put within the children's reach to attain their dreams.
"It is child-nutrient deficient. It needs to be fortified with more funds to combat malnutrition directly," Poe said.
In order to address hunger and poverty issue, Poe said P2.6 trillion proposed 2015 national budget will be debated upon condition.
She stressed P1.3 billion will be allocated to Department of Education (DepEd) to serve occasional meals to 530,000 severely wasted children, a fraction of the underweight, the wasted, and the stunted.
Poe also proposed allocation of P3.3 billion to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for a supplementary feeding program for two million children daycare.
"The budget per meal in the DSWD program is about P13.60. The DepEd program allocated P16 per child," she said.
"Let us then create the budget space for programs that will fill the empty stomach of our young," Poe added.
Moreover, Poe said she is targeting next year to bring irrigation to a paltry 26,155 hectares for the first time, which will take half a century to develop full irrigation potential.
An appropriation of P8.8 billion for agriculture is also set for 2015.
Poe also sought to pass some bills filed in the Senate.
She said Senate Bill (SB) 79 or "Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act of 2013" should be passed to provide a free nutri-meal programs to public school children.
She also sought to pass Senate Bill 2089 to promote corporate farming.
Poe said SB 1282, which seeks to encourage Filipinos to venture into agriculture by giving incentives, should also be considered.
She also stressed the need to pass the proposed National Land Use Act due to alarming greying of Philippine Agriculture.
Meanwhile, she said Filipinos should not only depend to the government but should also help on how to deter alarming raise of hunger and malnutrition in the country.
"The hunger should not only be relied upon the government. As a (Filipino) citizen, we should also know our role (in the society)," Poe said. (Sunnex)

Author: Ruth Abbey Gita
Date: October 27, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

MANILA " The Competitive Policy is targeted to be passed by 2015, according to Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aguirre Aquino III.

"Hopefully, by 2015 we will have the competition policy passed," Aquino said in a session at the 40th Philippine Business Conference and Expo Thursday at Manila Hotel.

The law will establish market rules and regulations to foster a competitive environment by regulating anti-competitive conduct.
The Senator added that it will help Micro-Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and SMEs thrive in the markets, through competition transparency which reduces corruption and rent seeking or lobbying.
Initially, the law combats anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive mergers, which serves as an advantage for the MSMEs and SMEs.
Aquino said that the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship is focused on passing the bill, up to the point that the policy reaches about three hours of interpellations, aside from the work that takes place before it.
He also said the competitive policy will grow businesses, while also uplifting the middle economy.
On the policy's impact, Aquino said it will be similar to the progression of the telecommunications sector in the past two decades.
Aquino backed his assumption with his experience of flying to Davao on expensive prices during the 80's, but it is now far cheaper due to the increased number of airline carriers.
He further said that the prices plunged in the communications sector due to the competitiveness of the companies, forcing developers to sell at cheaper rate and higher quality of the products.
"Because of competition, prices decreased, better innovation, quality increased and the consumers benefited. The two examples are good to point out why competition is important," Aquino said in Filipino.
The original version of the competitive policy was drafted by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), according to Aquino.
For his part, Dr. Gilbert Llanto, President of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, said that the Philippines needs to pass the competitive policy, which will consequently encourage a huge market for manufacturing.
Although Asia is congratulating the country's progress, Llanto said that the greatest challenge is sustaining the progressive growth of our economy.
He further said that the manufacturing sector can be tapped for more economic growth.
Llanto pointed out that the Philippines is lagging compared to its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors.
Specifically, on its transition from being agricultural to industrial and service oriented countries.
But, he said that the incoming trade policy will create more growth through the increase of jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector.
Aquino has previously highlighted the importance of the policy's passing to the readiness of the country for the ASEAN integration. (PNA)

Author: Juzel L. Danganan
Date: October 23, 2014
Source: Zambo Times