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By Leo Jaymar G. Uy
Senior Researcher

Many dev’t goals missed in last 6 years -- scorecard

Posted on July 19, 2017

A GOVERNMENT SCORECARD that details the Philippines’ progress in meeting economic development targets in the last six years showed that the country failed in many of them.

According to the Statistical Indicators on Philippine Development (StatDev) 2016, the government met 58 out of the 148 targets last year.

The report, released yesterday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), also showed 11 indicators have “good” probabilities of achieving their respective goals, 29 had “low” odds and two had “average chances” of hitting their targets.

StatDev monitors the achievement of the economic and social development goals set forth in the previous administration’s medium-term plan. The report covers 198 indicators and lists the “hits” and “misses” on targets listed in the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 as well as the likelihood on some indicators that would be met by the end of 2016.

“In terms of overall performance, five out of nine sectors (macroeconomy, industry and services, financial system, social development, and environment and natural resources), had at least 40% of their respective indicators achieving the target or likely to meet them in 2016,” the PSA report read.

In the area of the macroeconomy, the gross domestic product (GDP) under the previous administration posted an average of 6.9% during the six-year span, below an original 7.5-8.5% target for 2016 though at the high end of a downward-revised 6-7% goal for that year.

Similarly, a global slowdown brought the country’s export-to-GDP ratios to 28% and 59.4% in nominal and real terms, respectively -- short of their targets of 51.6% and 64.3% for end-2016.

In terms of the labor force, data for employment generated in 2016 was unavailable as the report went to press, but its target of 660,000-750,000 new jobs per year was unlikely to have been met.

The Philippines, however, had a passing grade in curbing the unemployment rate, which at 5.5% in 2016 was below the 6.5-6.7% target range.

The rate of increase in general prices was also kept in check as the 1.8% inflation rate in 2016 was within the 2-4% target range for the period.

However, keeping the country’s fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio at two percent by 2016 was missed when it hit 2.4% for that year, as the growth in expenditures outpaced that of revenues.

The target to reduce poverty (18-20% of the population by 2016) had good chances of being met by last year as latest data showed a poverty incidence of 21.6% of the population as of 2015.

A different case can be said of narrowing the divide between the rich and the poor as the country’s Gini coefficient of 0.4439 in 2015 is above the targeted 0.3932-0.4076 range. The Gini coefficient is an internationally recognized measure of inequality, wherein a score closer to zero reflects equality and a score nearing 1 indicates inequality.

The previous government likewise missed targets in infrastructure development, much to the disappointment of analysts back then when the Philippines’ infrastructure spending was dwarfed by that of its neighbors. The PSA noted that more than half of the targets in this area were not met. Among the “misses” were the number of vehicular accidents in Metro Manila per day (299 in 2016 vs. the targeted 148), the number of domestic and international flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (approximately 258,420 vs. 274,880), classroom-to-pupil ratio (1:35 vs. 1:30) and the proportion of paved roads (91.6% vs. 100%).

“However, there were also ‘hits’ which include four out of the five social infrastructure indicators,” the PSA said, citing the classroom-to-student ratio (1:43 vs. 1:45); water and sanitation facility to pupil (1:33 vs. 1:50) and student ratios (1:38 vs. 1;50) and the percentage of local government units served by sanitary landfill (15.36% vs. 7.76%).

Indicators that measure business competitiveness were likewise missed as the Philippines ranked 57th (out of 138) and 99th (out of 190) in the Global Competitiveness Index ranking by the World Economic Forum and the ranking on the Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp., respectively. The government targeted the country to be in the upper third in the rankings.

“Although the country failed to be in the upper third of the Global Competitiveness Index ranking, the jump from 85th in 2010 to 57th in 2016 is worth noting,” the PSA reported.

“In addition, the total approved investments fell short of its P947 billion target by a chunk of around 28% in 2016 [P686 billion]. The visitor receipts, however, surpassed the $4.5 billion target.”

In the area of governance, only two of the 14 targets have a high probability of being met in 2016 once data becomes available. These are political stability as well as voice and accountability.

Targets for governance were benchmarked against the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators, as well as the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index. For the latter, which contained indicators such as absence of corruption, regulatory enforcement and effective criminal justice, the Philippines missed all of the targets, having failed to reach the upper 50% in regional rankings.

The Philippines’ failing marks in the area of peace and security could give credence to the present administration’s hard-line stance on criminality and illegal drugs.

Out of the five indicators, only one -- crime solution efficiency, which is measured by the number of crimes solved over the total volume of crimes committed -- had a passing grade when it yielded a 57.91% efficiency rate -- way above the 38.3% target.

Likewise, the country failed to curb the number of crime incidents, which had a target of 223,609 in 2016. The Department of Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police recorded 584,883 of such cases during the year.

The number of private armed groups and other threat groups had reached 83 in 2016, up from the previous year’s 76 and pulling away from the aim of reducing such groups to 43.

Two indicators -- resolution rate of immigration fraud cases (21.3%) and resolution rate of deportation cases (55.7%) -- were less likely to meet their respective targets of 95% and 100%.

In the area of agriculture and fisheries, the previous administration also missed most of its targets.

Save for food inflation, which was below the 3-5% target (2.6% in 2016) and net profit-cost ratios on select commodities, most of the 11 indicators fell short of their respective goal.

For one, the country closed 2016 with 95.01% rice self-sufficiency, falling short of a 100% target.

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