Press Release
October 9, 2009


Responding to a recent report of the United Nations on Human Development, Senator Edgardo J. Angara is urging government's social services arm to strengthen programs that ensure the well-being and quality of life of Filipinos. The 2009 human development index released by the UNDP ranks the Philippines at 105 out of 182 countries, making it a medium-developed country but still lagging behind many Asian neighbors.

"This reflects the urgency of strategizing our programs in ways that would allow for social progress along with economic stability. A sound social welfare system should be among government's top priorities," noted Angara, who also attended the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Istanbul, Turkey this week.

The current national population is recorded at 92 million, with 11.5 M concentrated in Metro Manila, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It has been estimated that 97% of the country's total GDP is controlled by 15% of the population, the majority of which is in the Metro Manila area.

In 2008 the WB ranked the Philippines 111th in its index according to a GDP per capita-PPP (purchasing power parity) of US$3,510. In stark contrast, Norway, which has a land area only a little bigger than the Philippines but a far smaller population of only 4.8 M, tops the index with a GDP/capita-PPP of US$58,141. Norway has been consistent in topping the HDI thanks to its aggressive social welfare system.

Although the Philippines has a literacy rate of over 90%, child nutrition and development is poor. The World Bank reports that the mortality rate for Filipino babies under 5 is three times higher in poor families and 31% in pre-school are malnourished, diminishing their skills development and hampering their learning process.

"Both the government and the private sector should work towards implementing social welfare programs more strategically but also more consciously attuned to the needs of Filipinos. We don't necessarily have to top these indices and rankings, but it is clear that we must improve the environment in which our children grow up," Angara said.

The HDI ranks countries by level of human development, combining normalized measures of life expectancy, educational attainment, standard of living and GDP per capita for countries worldwide. It is claimed as a measure of human development that, according to the UNDP, refers to the process of increasing options for persons, giving them greater access and opportunities for education, health care, income, employment, housing, environmental conditions, among other factors.

With the goal of a better socio-economic demographic for Filipinos, Angara has been pushing for bills that improve quality of life. Among his notable legislations are the Magna Carta for Women, the Salary Standardization Law, the PhilHealth Law, the Pag-Ibig Fund Law, Rural Employment Generation Act, Pre-School Development Act, Child Nutrition Act, the School Modernization and Innovation Act, the Board of Computer Education Act, the Bio-Industry Development Act, the Philippine National Health Research System Act, Children's Health Insurance Program and the Student Employment Program.

News Latest News Feed