Gov't urged to invest more in millennium goals

Jimmy P. Abayon

Professor Leonor M. Briones, Social Watch Philippine co-convener and chairman of the Silliman University Board of Trustees posed the question in her book "Moving Forward with the Millennium Development Goals: May Pera Pa ba?"

The book was published by the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance, together with Social Watch Philippines and United Nations Development Goals.

Briones recently launched the book, which aims to help fill the dearth of literature in financing the Millennium Development Goals in the Philippines.

She said that based on the proposed 2006 budget, a shortfall of P14 billion is expected in education and P7.5 billion in health.

Just to provide water and sanitation for 43 municipalities will require P8.8 billion.

"If it is truly committed to a policy thrust, government has to put its money where its mouth is," Briones said.

"In order to be meaningful in the commitment, signed by the Philippines under the Millennium Declaration to eradicate poverty and hunger, provide access to primary education, improve maternal health, and reduce child mortality, has to be articulated in the national budget," the former national treasurer said.

The Millennium Declaration signed by the Philippines and other UN member states in September 2000 embodies the Millennium Development Goals, which are specific targets and milestones to address extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.

The publication outlines the progress achieved by the Philippines towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals and proceeds to assess the likelihood of achieving them by 2015 in the light of the present fiscal situation and challenging circumstances surrounding governance.

The assessment was made through the viewpoints of the government, reactors, and graduate students of UP-NCPAG.

The book is a collaborative effort of Briones and her graduate students in public fiscal administration at the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines.

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