Launching of the Social Watch Philippines 2005 Report

Social Watch Philippines launched the Social Watch Philippines 2005 Report “Race for Survival Hurdles on the road to meeting the MDGs in 2015” and the Social Watch Annual Report 2005 “Roars and Whispers. Gender and poverty: promises vs. action” last September 8, 2005.

Press Release
Social Watch: It is impossible for RP to meet MDGs

"It will be impossible for the Philippines to meet the United Nations development targets by 2015 unless major changes are introduced in present policies. The Philippines is almost certainly doomed to fall in this endeavor."

This was the assessment made yesterday by independent reports by Social Watch-Philippines and global citizens' watchdog coalition Social Watch-International, confirming earlier assessments that the Philippines is lagging behind in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Isagani Serrano, vice president of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement who presented the Social Watch-Philippines 2005 Report "Race for Survival: Hurdles on the Road to Meeting the MDGs in 2015," said it challenges the Philippine government's own report, which indicated dramatic accomplishments in terms of poverty-reduction and social development.

He said, "There is very little to celebrate and much to fear."

"We are afraid we will wake up one day, where we have a generation of poorly educated Filipinos. A generation of Filipinos who are less healthy and living in a very insecure environment," he said in the twin launching of the Social Watch-International report "Roars and Whispers" and the Social Watch-Philippines report "Race for Survival" yesterday at Balay Kalinaw in University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, said.

Indicators, he said, are pointing upwards or downwards, but definitely not to the desired direction.

"The government and Social Watch-Philippines report are talking of two different realities, although we are basing our assessment from a common data. One of us must be lying," he said.

In the Social Watch-International report and in the Social Watch-Philippines report one will immediately see that "the two somehow confirm each other," Social Watch-Philippines co-convenor Prof. Leonor Briones, who keynoted the event, said.

"What is happening in the Philippines is happening in other parts of the world," she said.

Briones said there are very serious problems at the way the governments provide basic services, such as education and health. She noted that education remains inaccessible to many.

The Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)-Philippines, and the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations early this week separately said the Philippines failed to meet its commitments in the MDGs.

Dr. Zidul A. Huque of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) said in the launching that the Social Watch-Philippines report provides the Philippine government a challenging job for the ensuing years to meet its target in the Millennium Declaration.

For her part, Assistant Director Cleofe Pastrana of the Social Development Staff of NEDA acknowledged that the Social Watch-Philippines report is in contrast with the one prepared by the Philippine government for the September 14 to 16 UN Millennium Summit. She said the Social Watch-Philippines report will be noted and included in the Third Progress Report to the MDGs.

Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel of Akbayan Party-list said the Social Watch-Philippines report was factual in presenting dismal gender equity situation in the country. She said President Arroyo even failed to mention a policy to promote women's rights and prevent maternal mortality in her 10-point agenda.

Kabataan Kontra Kahirapan, represented by its national vice chairman Jayson Edward San Juan lauded the Social Watch-Philippines report, saying it gave poverty a human face. He said it provided real stories of people affected by poverty, rather than just presented economic indicators, numbers and statistics which, he said, "do not mean anything to the poor."

The launching of the Social Watch reports was attended by people's and non government organizations affiliated with Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)-Philippines, a broad alliance of organizations calling for an end to poverty.

It also became a venue for a photo exhibit put-up by Global Call to Action Against Poverty reflecting the worsening problem of poverty and hunger in the Philippines.