Rx for health: Not just money
or dole-outs but real reforms

IN HIS message that accompanies the proposed government budget for next year, President Benigno C. Aquino III notes that the allocation for health is 13.6 percent higher than 2010’s P29.3 billion (According to the 2010 General Appropriations Act though, only P28.7 billion was allocated to the Health Department).

Yet if one were to compare health’s share of the budget for this year and what the corresponding figure could be in the next, the difference isn’t much.

For 2010, the health allocation is 1.8 percent of the P1.54-trillion national purse. For 2011, the Aquino administration is proposing P32.62 billion for health –as indicated in the proposed National Expenditure Program — which is 1.9 percent of the P1.64-trillion national budget. The increase in terms of share in the total budget then would amount to just a tenth of a percentage point.

RP far behind goals to lift
plight of children, mothers

IT WILL be his first official trip overseas as the country’s chief executive, but President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III has little reason to look forward to his upcoming visit to the United States.

On September 20, Aquino will be at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he is expected to present just how far the Philippines has achieved progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Unfortunately, in large measure because of the shortcomings of his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Aquino is bound to acknowledge before other world leaders that the country is falling short of several of these targets.

In September 2000, the Philippines and 188 other countries signed the Millennium Declaration, and committed themselves to achieving a set of eight goals by 2015. These goals – the MDGs – have since been commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress for both rich and poor countries.

President Aquino’s Millennium
Development Goals

President Aquino’s first foreign trip is most likely the United Nations assembly. With barely five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the UN Secretary-General called on world leaders to attend the summit in New York on September 20-22 to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo believes that “by that time he is already addressing the domestic issues, and he has advanced in his domestic issue programs. Of course like he said ‘I cannot solve it in two or three months’ but we set the guidelines, we’ll be on track and the various government offices in charge are there on the ball.

Philippines made little progress
in achieving MDGs – Report

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines still has much work to do in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly reducing poverty, a report released by the Overseas Development Institute and the United Nations Millennium Campaign revealed.

Ending extreme poverty and hunger comes first in the list of MDGs — a set of time-bound, concrete and specific development goals that 189 leaders worldwide committed to achieve by 2015. The other key goals include achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development.

Rx for next president: Rescue
mothers, assure healthcare

WHOEVER will be elected president might have to hurdle among many others, two big tasks in the area of healthcare – rescuing mothers from the throes of death at childbirth, and providing universal healthcare protection to all 90 million Filipinos.

These tasks may seem “mission impossible” projects all at once but are, according to former health secretary Alberto Romualdez, not exactly beyond solution.

“RP has improved from Marcos years”

The Philippines, financially bankrupt and mired in poverty after the ravages of Martial Law, has improved in many aspects. This is gleaned from the monitoring done on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as set by the United Nations in 2000 aimed at reducing poverty and the worst forms of human deprivation by 2015.

MDG, palpak?

Makapadayeg ang gihimo sa Kingdom of Bhutan atol sa ilang nasudnong panagtigum. Naghiusa ang mga lider sa gagmay nga nasud sa pagkab-ot sa ilang bag-ong tumong—ang paghatag og nasudnong kalipay o Gross National Happiness. Alang sa maong nasud, tunga-tunga sa kampanya sa lig-ong ekonomiya ug pagpuyo nga malinawon sa mga tawo didto, ang labing mahinungdanon nga sukdanan, kung kining tanang inisyatiba nakahatag ba og kalipay sa tibuok nasud. Nahigmata ang daghang nasud sa kalibutan sa lakang sa Bhutan. Kanunay nga anaa sa mga plano ug tumong ang maayong dagan sa ekonomiya, pagkaon sa matag pamilya, trabaho alang sa tanan, edukasyon sa kabataan ug daghan pa. Apan sa kauwahian, unsa ba gyud ang tukmang mga butang nga makapalipay sa tibuok nasud.

Can the Philippines achieve the UN
Millennium Development Goals?

Can the Philippines achieve the MDGs by 2015? According to the latest progress report submitted by various government agencies, the Philippines is confident it can achieve goals 1 (halving poverty), 3, 4, 6, and 7. Improving nutrition and dietary energy requirement (goal 1) is rated as medium probability. It is least likely that the country can achieve goals 2 and 5.

The latest progress report is depressing. Even the positive indicators can slip back as negative outcomes in the next five years. For example, the Philippines claims it has already achieved goal 6 but just recently the Health Department has warned about the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases among young professionals. A doctor-lawmaker described the AIDS situation in the country as reaching epidemic proportion. Underreporting of HIV/AIDS cases also distorts the true picture and extent of the problem.