Press Release
July 23, 2007

Pia: Government's own indicators belie claim of improved people's lives

If delivering basic services to the people were the main yardstick in gauging the performance of her administration, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo deserves a failing grade on her seventh State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.

This was pointed out by Senator Pia S. Cayetano as she noted that several crucial targets in health, education and poverty reduction have not been met by the Arroyo administration, as shown in official statistics of the government itself.

She said the findings of the "2006 Indicators on Philippine Development" released last July 18 by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) would "affirm public perception that the government's claim of economic growth has not redounded to improved living conditions of ordinary Filipinos."

The indicators are updated annually by the NSCB to keep track of government's performance with respect to key economic and social development targets under the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010.

"We're way off the course in some of the targets that the government itself had laid down. Basic health, education and poverty indicators are among the closest to the hearts of our people, since these involve basic services that they expect to hear about in the President's SONA today,"

"We expect the President to lay down concrete programs and proposed legislative measures to address these basic people's concerns," she stressed, citing the following:


  • Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) marginally went down from 172 deaths per 100,000 livebirths in 2005 to 162 last year, but is still way off the government's MMR target of 90 by 2010. The country's MMR is one of the worst in Southeast Asia as neighbors like Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand have been able to maintain their MMRs below 40.
  • The proportion of households with access to safe water supply dropped from 83 percent in 2005 to 82 percent in 2006, way off the target to raise it to 96 percent by 2010.
  • The proportion of households with access to sanitary toilet facilities increased in 2005 from 69 percent to 74 percent in 2006, but still falls way below the 91 percent target by 2010.


  • Net enrolment ratio at the elementary level continued to dip from 77.1 percent in School Year (SY) 2004-2005 to 73.5 percent in SY 2005-2006, and still far from the 90 percent target by 2010.
  • Net enrolment ratio at the secondary level increased slightly from 42.5 percent from SY 2004-2005 to 44.5 percent in SY 2005-2006, but is not on course to meet the 83.7 percent target by 2010
  • Dropout rate at the elementary level increased from 8.6 percent in SY 2004-2005 to 9.3 percent in SY 2005-2006, off-track from the 4.3 percent target.
  • Dropout rate at the secondary level substantially increased from 15 percent in SY 2004-2005 to 18 percent in SY 2005-2006, way off the 2010 target of 8.1 percent.


  • Poverty incidence among the population did decrease from 33 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2003, but would require a major boost to reach the target of 17 percent by 2010.
  • New microfinance borrowers reached a total of 850,120 from 2004 to 2006, but still from the target of servicing 4.2 million new microfinance borrowers by 2010.


  • The number of shelter security units constructed, financed and/or administered by the government has declined since 2004, from 171,688 units that year to 119,329 in 2005, and further down to 105,143 units in 2006. The government's target is to build 1.1 million housing units between 2004 to 2010.

Cayetano said that the 13th Congress had dutifully passed the tax and other revenue measures that Pres. Arroyo had asked for in 2004 to shore up the funds needed for her economic reform programs.

"It's social payback time for the people in the 14th Congress. The President's SONA should report on how the funds generated through administration tax measures like E-VAT and higher excise taxes have translated to better public services for the people, particularly on health and education," she added.

Cayetano was the only administration senator who voted against the E-VAT bill in the 13th Congress and fought for the inclusion of social provisions in the proposed measure, as well as the bill increasing excise taxes.

She said the social provisions of these tax laws-which would earmark funds for health services, health insurance and education-have not been complied with by the government and remained as "mere empty promises" for the people.

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