From BusinessWorld 16 November 2011
Many MDGs could be missed
THE PHILIPPINES remains behind schedule — by a decade or longer in a number of indicators — three years before the deadline to meet the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
The country is “behind the path to target” in 15 out of 22 indicators selected by the agency for a “time distance” measurement. For instance, an 8.4-year lag was noted in terms of reducing the proportion of the population below the national poverty threshold to 16.6%. This means the latest 26.5% should have been achieved in 2003.
The MDGs are eight goals that 189 countries pledged to achieve by 2015.
MDG 1 indicators (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) said to be lacking progress are lowering the prevalence of underweight children under five to 17.3% and a decrease in Filipinos below the subsistence threshold.
Still, NSCB Secretary-General Romulo A. Virola said there was a high probability of diminishing the percentage of Filipinos below the food threshold to 8.25%. The probability of reducing the poverty gap ratio to 4.3% is also high, he said.
But Mr. Virola said the Philippines had a poor chance of achieving four of its five targets under MDG 2 (achieve universal primary education). Among others, it is 17 years behind schedule in achieving a 100% net enrolment ratio in primary education.
When it comes to promoting gender equality and empowering women (MDG 3), the country may have already achieved a 1:1 ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education. But the proportion of legislative seats held by women was only at 21.4% last year, far from the 50% target.
With regard to MDGs 4 and 5 (reduce child mortality and improve maternal health), the country is behind schedule by up to 16.6 years.
The Philippines is either on or ahead of schedule with regard to four out of six indicators under MDG 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases). Tuberculosis is a problem area, as the country recorded an 18.8-year lag in terms of eliminating its incidence and a 10-year delay in terms of stamping out deaths.
The seventh goal of achieving environmental sustainability by 2015 is “highly achievable” Mr. Virola said as, among others, the Philippines is ahead of schedule when it comes to increasing the proportion of families with access to a sanitary toilet to 83.8%.
Prospects for the eighth goal of establishing a global partnership for development are also good, he noted. — K. J. Q. Ang