Commentary: RP joins "stand up against poverty" campaign
By Henry S. Lagasca
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union (19 October) -- On a positive note, the Philippines was cited by a joint United Nations-Asian Development Bank to be on track to meet the 2015 Medium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing poverty, increasing enrollment in primary education and reducing HIV prevalence and improving urban sanitation.
The Philippines, however, achieved little progress in rural water access and rural sanitation which includes reducing the number of underweight children, improving the number of children reaching Grade 5, raising forest cover, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving water access in urban areas.
The UN-ADB assessment categorized the Philippines as one of the countries that are falling way behind the MDG targets.
The UN system tracks progress towards achieving the MDG targets relating to poverty alleviation efforts globally.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is leading the country in the global campaign of the UN on "Stand Up Against Poverty" which aims to halve the incidence of poverty by 2015.
At the flag raising ceremony in Malacanang the other day, President Arroyo joined by the UN Resident Commissioner announced the Philippines participation in the UN-initiated campaign dubbed "Tumayo Tayo: Labanan ang Kahirapan, Tuparin ang MDGs."
With the economy on a roll, the country now has more resources to give more and better basic services for the poor.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the country would need to address P380 billion in funding shortfall to boost the MDGs from 2007 to 2015, particularly in primary education and basic health services, the two MDG areas where the Philippines rated most poorly.
Under the Arroyo government, incremental collections are not only earmarked for infrastructure but to public elementary and secondary education, health insurance premiums, environmental conservation and agricultural modernization- all of which form part of the MDGs.
The Arroyo administration continues to intensify the poverty relief programs such as the Botika ng Bayan, Tindahang Bayan, DSWD's food for work program, DA's farm and fishery family extension program, CDA's cooperative thrusts and microfinance lending program in the countryside.
The government may have fallen short of its revenue collections and President Arroyo said that this is a challenge for our revenue collecting agencies to double their efforts in ensuring that the country would move forward by keeping the revenue train on course. Our economic managers have already put in place an action plan ensuring that the country will be back on track in no time at all to meet the MDG challenge.
President Arroyo's commitment needs nationwide advocacy effort to have the greatest number of people to ever stand firm and cooperate to bolster the global partnerships against poverty. (PIA 1) [top]