Philippines

<p>The covid-19 pandemic has increased poverty and inequality in the country and has laid bare the weaknesses of the public health and social protection systems, educational systems as well as provision of livelihoods and employment to Filipinos. This has led to catastrophic consequences for workers and their families, the majority of whom are in the informal sector and many of whom are women.</p> <p>Yet, two years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no fundamental change in the government’s developmental strategy to address these systemic weaknesses and prioritize the care programs and services that our people need. Emerging from what seems to be the worst period of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country is slowly returning to some semblance of ‘normalcy’ (or what is also referred to as ‘the new normal’). It would seem that the dominant mindset of policymakers, especially those managing the economic levers, is that it is back to business as usual, where the private sector is seen as the main driver of development and with the government basically providing the ‘enabling policy environment.’</p>

Social Watch Philippines is organizing a Policy Dialogue on June 4, 2021 (Friday), from 1:30PM-4:30PM (Manila time) via Zoom in order to present the findings on the Citizens' Report of the AIIB Financing for COVID-19 Response and Recovery as well as key recommendations of the research to government leaders as well as representatives from civil society, people’s organizations, and other stakeholders.

The objective of the Policy Dialogue is to present the Final Report to policymakers, to the CSO community, the media, and other stakeholders, in particular the key findings as well as recommendations, and to collectively generate learnings and insights on the importance of citizens’ engagement in the various aspects of public financing, including the accessing of loans, for government programs to combat the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Watch Philippines, Action for Economic Reforms and other civil society organizations deepen our understanding of the implications of #COVID19 on the economy, social policies, gender, rural and urban perspectives.

Social Watch Philippines-Alternative Budget Initiative in Health (SWP-ABI Health) is launching the "Mercy Fabros Learning Session Series.”

Social Watch Philippines-Alternative Budget Initiative in Health (SWP-ABI Health) invites you to the first episode tackling a timely public health discourse, “An Urgent Call: A People's Vaccine Against COVID-19" on August 5, Wednesday, (via Zoom).

The pandemic is changing our lives and economies in profound ways. So massive has been the wastage of lives and the devastation caused by COVID-19 to health systems everywhere that humanity's survival has become a top priority concern.

Social Watch Philippines, together with a number of Filipino academics and civil society representatives, present a policy matrix that identifies urgent issues, provides analyses and outlines recommendations on trade and development from a wide range of actors from civil society, the academe, and private sector in time for the preparatory process leading to the UNCTAD XV Conference to be held in Barbados from 18 to 23 October 2020.

In the Philippines, the preparation of the country's VNR report 2019 catalysed a multi-stakeholder consultation process to which some CSOs, like Social Watch Philippines (SWP) were invited. SWP, in turn, convened a broader consultation process that will result both in inputs to the VNR as well as in an independent civil society report.

The Philippines is currently one of the fastest growing economies of the world, with GDP hovering around 6 to 7 percent in 2018 and growing at an average of almost 5 percent a year in the last decade, but those figures coexist with a high poverty rate, a paradox situation called ‘jobless growth’.

SWP comments that “there seems to be an unspoken yet dominant perspective on wealth, that as long as poverty is minimized, there should be no objection to the unbridled gains of the rich. It is assumed that wealth will trickle down to the poorest.

In an event in 10 July 2019, Social Watch Philippines (SWP) led a discussion called, “Conversation on Tobacco Control Initiatives, Impact of 17th Congress Tobacco Tax Increase, and Universal Health Care- Implementing Rules and Regulations” where the SWP Spotlight Report for 2019 on the SDGs entitled “The PH SDG Agenda: Closing Gaps, Overcoming Policy Incoherence” and the Philippine VNR were discussed by SWP Co-Convenor Dr. Maria Victoria Raquiza and the National Economic and Development Authority Usec. Rosemarie G. Edillon, PhD respectively. Three years ago, SWP has also made its statement on SDGs, through its Spotlight Report, on overcoming poverty and achieving sustainable development.

The upcoming 2019 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July in New York with the theme, “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” spurred Social Watch Philippines (SWP) and other organizations like the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), Save the Children, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA), Plan International, Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PhilSen), Tebtebba, Voice of the Free, and Fair Trade Alliance among others, to organize a broader CSO consultation workshop to catalyze a process for civil society organizations (CSO) from different sectors towards engaging the Philippine government on the Voluntary National Review (VNR). With the support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Save the Children Philippines and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), a consultation workshop Towards Coherent Policies for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Philippines: Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Inputs to the Voluntary National Review (VNR) was held on February 7 to 8, 2019 in Quezon City, Philippines participated by around 70 representatives of different civil society organizations.

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