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.
Government data show that poverty incidence among population in the Philippines increased to 32.9% in 2006 from 30% in 2003, with the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao posting the highest incidence at 61.8%. Poverty incidence among families also worsened from 24.4% in 2003 to 26.9% in 2006.
With the aftermath of the global economic slowdown, typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, and the El Nino phenomenon, a further worsening of poverty is anticipated in the 2009 poverty estimates.
Another MDG where the Philippines is lagging is improving maternal health. The Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc. reported that the maternal mortality ratio continues to worsen with 162 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. Eleven Filipino women die every 24 hours from pregnancy and childbirth complications.
However, the country has made significant progress in reducing child mortality. Infant and under-five mortality rates have been steadily decreasing since 1990, according to the National Demographic and Health Survey.
The infant mortality rate in 2008 was 25 per 1,000 live births, very nearly closing the gap with the target of reducing infant deaths to 19 by 2015. The Philippines had also consistently managed to bring the infant mortality numbers down from 80 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 34 deaths in 2008.
Because it was off track with several MDGs, the Philippines did not make it to the list of top 20 countries cited for their overall progress in achieving the MDGs. The list included the poorest countries in Africa.
Jacqui Badcock, UN Resident Coordinator, said: "The Philippines may not have made it to the top 20 list, but this does not mean hope is lost."
"All we need is government commitment, and a pro-active and sustained nationwide advocacy to keep government actions and intentions aligned with the MDGs," Badcock added.