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New Philippine development plan focuses on education, social security
cting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said under the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, there will be strong focus on enhancing the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, improving the quality of instruction in education, and upskilling the workforce.
STAR/ File

New Philippine development plan focuses on education, social security

Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Enhancing social security and improving the delivery of education will be priorities in human development in the next two years, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said under the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, there will be strong focus on enhancing the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, improving the quality of instruction in education, and upskilling the workforce.

Emphasis was also placed on institutionalizing the Social Protection Floor, which are nationally defined basic levels of income security provided through transfers and universal access to essential services.

“It is important that we continually pursue inclusive health care, education and social protection programs that will empower individuals and communities,” Chua said during yesterday’s launch of the 2020 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The updated PDP, which will be launched next month, will also identify reforms and strategies that will accelerate the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report showed that the series of natural disasters on top of the coronavirus pandemic may have reversed five years of gains in human development in the country across all aspects.

“In the case of the Philippines, we are estimating that five years of human development might have been reversed as a result of COVID-19,” said Yemesrach Workie, senior policy advisor to UNDP in the Philippines.

This as schools remain shuttered and income levels fell sharply from unemployment during lockdowns enforced to curb the contagion.

Poverty is expected to have spiked this year as the prolonged lockdown made it difficult for the economy to recover and regain momentum.

Before the pandemic, the Philippines has been making steady progress in human development for a decade.

Its latest Human Development Index (HDI) score of 0.718 as of 2019 ranks 107th out of 189 countries. This is slightly below than the average in Asia and the Pacific region at just 0.800 score.

Sustained improvements were seen in life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling and gross national income per capita, reflecting improving living standards.

Progress, however, stagnated in the mean years of schooling placed at 9.4 years.

Workie said that while there is potential for further improvement, these gains are “fragile” amid the pandemic.

En route to recovery, Workie said the Philippines could prevent gains from being completely eroded by addressing income inequality addressing the adverse impacts of climate change.

“Philippines needs to make continued progress while addressing inequality and maintaining a low pressure on the planet,” she said.

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