The Philippines is on track on meeting two Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), however, it has to work harder to achieve the other goals, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) advisor said in a live chat on Thursday.
The MDGs targets to address poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability.
“The Philippines, like many of the middle-income countries in Asia, is on track to halve extreme poverty and also meet its schooling goals,” said Anuradha Rajivan, advisor in ADB’s Strategy and Policy Department.
Rajivan added that the country also controlled the spread of infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and malaria to a large extent.
“However, it has a long way to go on quality of education. Inequality is also a very serious growing concern,” she said.
Rajivan is the co-author of the report “Asia-Pacific Aspirations: Perspectives for a Post-2015 Development Agenda” which showed that that the Philippines is an early achiever in promoting gender equality and empowering women, and made some progress on the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
However, it said that the country is slow on ensuring environment stability, achieving basic sanitation, eradicating poverty, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health.
Asked if the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Philippine government is helping the country to achieve the MDGs especially on poverty reduction, Rajivan said that “social protection programs like cash transfers, if and when properly targeted have been quite successful in alleviating some of the most extreme forms of poverty.”
However, she noted that social protection programs are not substitutes for getting a country’s growth strategies right.
The Philippine CCT program, or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) facilitated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development targets extremely poor families and provides P300 a month for every child in each family.
A maximum of three children can benefit under the program, or P3,000 for a school year for meeting educational expenses. There is also a health component that allots P6,000 annually for each family or P500 a month.