ADB goads PHL, Asia-Pacific peers to raise social protection spending

The Philippines and other middle-income countries in Asia and the Pacific need to increase spending in labor, assistance and social insurance programs to protect the poor and vulnerable people from unforeseen events, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report Wednesday showed.

Social protection systems in many of the region's fast-growing economies fail to support such people that they are left exposed to risks and unexpected difficulties like unemployment, ill health and natural disasters, the Manila-based ADB noted in a study, “The Social Protection Index: Assessing Results for Asia and the Pacific,”

[http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2013/social-protection-index.pdf]

“Many countries—especially middle-income countries—are spending far too little on social protection,” the report read.

Philippine spending on social protection initiatives such as social insurance, social assistance and labor market programs is at 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), way below the recommended 5 percent, the report noted.

This compares with high-income countries like Japan, Korea and Singapore which, on the average, spend 10.2 percent of GDP for social protection programs.

Upper middle-income economies allot 4 percent of their output, and lower middle income 3.4 percent. Low-income countries spend 2.6 percent of GDP.

Social protection spending of “5 percent of GDP... is a realistic medium-term objective for middle-income countries in Asia and the Pacific,” the report read.

“However, spending in most middle-income countries, including Armenia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Samoa, remains below 3 percent of GDP,” the ADB said.

Sought for comment, Philippine Economics Society president and University of Santo Tomas economist Alvin Ang said social spending has been increased by the Aquino administration from the ADB report's data that were taken from 2009.

“Ang social protection framework ngayon pa lang pumapasok. The government has increased spending for such initiatives and I think more will come in other than CCT (conditional cash transfers),” he told GMA News Online.

Despite saying that achieving social spending of 5 percent of GDP is still a long way, Ang claimed the government is on track with regard to social protection.

“Moving forward there are a lot of social protection agenda still in the pipeline like social health insurance and labor intensification,” he said, referring to the recently signed National Health Insurance Act of

2013 that gives health coverage to all Filipinos and labor initiatives under the Philippine Development Plan.

The ADB said increasing social protection coverage requires shoring up “additional public revenue which can be secured by broadening the tax base, improving tax collection, and improving public expenditure management.”

The bank told governments to encourage the private sector contribution “... to social insurance programs.”

“After many years of high growth, the Asia and Pacific region is in an excellent position to invest in better social protection systems that are attuned to the needs of its people,” the ADB said in a statement. — VS, GMA News

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Catholics organize to promote pope's climate change message

    NEW YORK (AP) — There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines. …

  • Forgotten for decades, fallen NY soldier finally honored
    Forgotten for decades, fallen NY soldier finally honored

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Carroll Heath didn't have it easy growing up in the Great Depression. His father wasn't around, his mother was a patient in a mental hospital and he kept largely to himself. Soon after graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army and wound up in the Philippines, where he's believed to have died sometime in 1942. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …

  • Cops receive mid-year bonus
    Cops receive mid-year bonus

    Active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP)have received their mid-year bonuses. The PNP has released P1.9 billion for the mid-year bonus of the 155,000 active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel. The Directorate for Comptrollership released P1,933,664,893.50 through the Finance Service and subsequently credited to the individual ATM payroll accounts of active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel. …

  • APEC trade chiefs vow to speed up work in WTO

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Trade ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday issued strong support to the World Trade Organization's efforts to boost global trade amid a flurry of regional free trade agreements. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options