The Millennium Development Goals Performance

A report by the ADB, The Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007, said that no developing country in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines, will be able to meet all millennium development goals by 2015. It also said that of the 21 criteria under seven MDGs, the Philippines is either slow or showing no progress in nine categories.

In summary, it was noted that the Philippines lags in reducing the number of its population living in $1 a day, reducing the number of underweight children, providing sufficient water, and improved sanitation in rural areas. The country is either showing no progress or even regressing in the MDG criteria on the number of primary education enrollees, number of those able to reach 5th grade, forest cover, carbon dioxide emission and water accessibility in urban areas.

However, the ADB praised the Philippines for being an early achiever in the following MDG criteria: primary completion rate, gender primary, gender secondary, gender tertiary, tuberculosis prevalence rate, turbeculosis death rate, increasing the number of its protected areas, and ozone-depleting CFCs consumption. It also lauded the country for making progress in reducing under-5 mortality, infant mortality, people with HIV, and improving urban sanitation.

The Philippines released its Midterm Progress Report on the MDGs in 2007 where it discussed in details the performance of the Philippines as against the MDG targets. The MDG targets have been incorporated in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), 2004-2010. Based on the eight goals, below are the Philippines’ scorecard for each goal:

On eradicating extreme poverty and hunger

Extreme poverty is the proportion of population or families living below the subsistence or food threshold. Poverty incidence rates have been declining but only three regions (Central Luzon, CALABARZON and the National Capital Region or NCR) had household poverty rates that were below the national average. The remaining 14 regions had poverty rates higher than the national figures.


The proportion of households with food intake per person that is less than 100% dietary energy requirement was 69.4% in 1993 and 56.9% in 2003 while the target was 34.7% by 2015. Eight regions are needing substantial attention: CALABARZON, Bicol Region (Region 5), Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao (Region 10), SOCSARGEN (Region 12), and the ARMM.

The prevalence of underweight preschoolers declined from 30.6% in 2001 to 26.9% in 2003 and 24.6% in 2005, the target is 17.25% by 2015. Even with the decline, wide disparities exist between regions. Proper nutrition for pregnant and lactating women is also critical. It is estimated that 28.4% of pregnant women were nutritionally at-risk in 2005; about 40% of pregnant women were anemic, with even higher levels of 50% and over in some provinces in Mindanao in 2006.


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On achieving universal primary education

Participation rate in primary or elementation education, both public and private, of the school-age population 6 to 11 years was 90.29% in schoolyear (SY) 2002-2003, declining to 84.44% in SY 2005-2006.The huge decrease was noted in the urban areas. CALABARZON has the highest participation rate of 92.87% while the lowest is in CARAGA at 74.8%. Dropout rates at the elementary level have been on the rise from 2001 to 2005. More learners dropped from the system but the number decreased as they reached higher grades. In the same manner, the completion rate decreased from 2002 to 2005.

The inability of the government to provide complete basic education services in more than 7,000 barangays has been cited as a major reason for the low completion rate. Of the 37,496 elementary schools established in 2005, some 7,766 or about 21% had incomplete grade-level offerings. Overall, the country is lagging behind in the MDG target of achieving universal access to primary education.


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On promoting gender equality

It was noted that a gender gap in achievement levels in favor of girls is reflected in several indicators – education, life expetancy, literacy, etc. For instance, the participation rate of females in elementary education was better than that of males with 85.35% as against 83.56% for males. For higher education, it was noted that female dominated the total enrolment. Filipino women live longer than men, with a life expectancy of 72.5 years compared to 67.2. Women also have a slight edge over men in simple literacy rates (94.3% vs. 92.6%) and functional literacy rates (86.3% vs. 81.9%). But it should be remembered that male-to-female population ratio is 101 to 100.

On gender-based violence (GBV), around 2.2 million Filipino women or 9% of all women ages 18 years and above, experienced violence inflicted by their partners. In the past two years, around 70% of child abuse victims were girls and about 40% of cases were sexual abuse and exploitation.

Given the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) worldwide, women and men were almost equal in number. However, the average cash remittances of women were only 60% that of men.

SY 2001-2002 AND SY 2005-2006

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On reducing child mortality

Based on data from the Technical Working Group on Maternal and Child Mortality, under-5 mortality rate (U-5MR) was 80 deaths per 1,000 live births for 1990, 48 in 1998, and 42 in 2003. In 2006, the Family Planning Survey (FPS) of NSO reported that the rate further fell to 32 deaths per 1,000 live births, or a decline of 60% for the period 1990-2006. This suggests a high likelihood of meeting the target of 26.7 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015.


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On improving maternal health

MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Improvement in maternal health is slow. National Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) showed that the MMR went down to 172 deaths in 1998 from a 1993 baseline figure of 209 deaths. In 2006, based on the Family Planning Survey, it was down to 162 deaths. But the target MMR is 52 deaths per 100,00 live births in 2015, which is least likely to be achieved by the Philippines. The slow decline in MMR may be traced to inadequate access to integrated reproductive health services by women, as well as poor adolescents and men.


Since the first reported HIV and AIDS case in 1984, the Department of Health (DOH) has been tracking HIV and AIDS cases. The total number of reported HIV Antibody seropositive and AIDS cases from January 1984 to December 2006 was 2,719, of which 72% were asymptomatic and the remaining 28% were full-blown AIDS cases. From 2004 to 2006, the number of reported cases increased from 200 to 300 annually or 20% higher raising concerns that it is spreading fast. Even with these figures, the MDG target of keeping the prevalence rate at less than 1% of the population is on track. The Philippines has also ben able to reduce the spread of other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, two leading causes of morbidity.

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On ensuring environmental sustainability

Philippine Agenda 21 is the guiding document for the country’s strategy for sustainable development. The action agenda for protecting the ecosystem, for example is comprehensive, with targets for the following: forest and upland, coastal and marine, urban ecosystem, freshwater, lowland and agricultural, minerals and biodiversity. The Philippines’ productive coastal ecosystems and habitats include at least 25,000 kms. of coral reefs, sea grass and algal beds; 289,890 hectares of mangroves; a variety of productive fisheries that provide more than 50% of the animal protein consumed in the country; and beaches and various coastlines of value for tourism and other development. But pollution remains a problem in major urban centers. Another issue is waste disposal. With an estimated population of 10.5 million, the total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons of garbage per day.

Data from surveys conducted by National Statistics Office (NSO) suggest that access to safe drinking water and access to sanitary toilet facilities improved slightly over the years. Based on the 2004 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), access to safe drinking water slightly increased from 80% in 2002 to 80.2% in 2004, while the percentage of those using sealed water and closed pit type of toilet facility was 86.2% or up from the 86.1% recorded in 2002. The MDG target for 2015 is to ensure that 86.8% of the population will have access to safe water and 83.8% will have access to a sanitary toilet facility.

In 2002, more than 588,853 families in the country were regarded as informal settlers most of them in major urban centers like the NCR. This rose to 675,000 in 2004 or a 14.6% increase with more than half in the NCR, Region 6, CALABARZON, and Region 5. In pursuit of the global MDG target, the government and the private sector had provided security of tenure or shelter security units (e.g., house and lot, house only or lot only) to 710,203 households from 2000 to 2006.

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On developing a global partnership for development

The Philippines continues to participate in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations. But disagreements over agricultural trade prompted the government to intensify its efforts at forging trade agreements on the bilateral and regional level. On the economic front, even with the improvements in fiscal position, the government continues to record budget deficit and high outstanding debt. Debt service has been absorbing about one-third of the national government budget.

According to the World Medicines Situation, a 2004 publication of the World Health Organization (WHO), only 66% of the country’s population had access to essential medicines. The MTPDP targets to reduce the prices of essential medicines to half of their 2001 prices. Several programs (such as the Botika ng Bayan) were launched to reduce the cost of essential medicines and the passage of the Cheaper Medicine Act is expected to promote parallel importation to further bring down the cost of medicines.

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