New Delhi, India, October 20, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Congresswoman Jocelyn S. Limkaichong (1st District, Negros Oriental) was the only Filipino lawmaker and one of the two Filipino speakers and panelists in the just concluded international policy seminar on “Effective Public Service Delivery in Health and Education” organized by the Global Development Network (GDN), a leading international organization of developing and transition country researchers, policy and research institutes promoting the generation, sharing, and application to policy of multidisciplinary knowledge for the purpose of development.
The representative from Negros Oriental, an ardent advocate of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a champion of measures and programs that revolve around, and redound to, social reform and human development, rights of women and children, and good governance, discussed the policy priorities in the health and education sectors of the Philippine government.
She shared with the participants from five countries (Armenia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Nepal) – policy-makers and researchers from the academe and development organizations – this country’s national situation and specific programs in both sectors, presented the recent reforms undertaken by the current administration and the emerging results these reforms are gaining so far, and areas for further research.
“The health sector in the Philippines is on the road, chasing the Millennium Development Goals; and from equitable financing, it is girding towards universal health coverage – most especially, of all Filipinos whose incomes belong to poverty threshold,” Rep. Limkaichong pointed out.
She shared the country’s “Universal Access to Health” framework in filling in the gaps in the sector. The framework is a three-pronged approach towards better health systems and outcomes. This includes Financial Risk Protection through rapid expansion in National Health Indigent Program enrollment and benefit delivery using national subsidies for the poorest of the poor; the Health Enhancement Facilities Program which received PhP 7.1 billion in 2011, and an additional PhP 5 billion in 2012; and the key strategy, the government’s plan of harnessing private sector’s resources and expertise through Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP).
While she lamented that education reform initiatives in the past have failed because of “Insufficient financial resources and the inefficient use of available ones, inadequate attention to the learning needs particularly of the poor or disadvantaged and lack of attention to the quality of learning,” Rep. Limkaichong is positive that this administration is committed to investing on this key human resource development area.
“Our education sector continues to get the highest budgetary allocation, and to quote the President Aquino, ‘this administration is bent on exponentially increasing investments in basic education.’”
In Fiscal Year 2012, PhP 308.9 billion, or 13.8% higher than this year’s allocation of PhP 271.5 billion will go to the education sector. It is 17.01% of the total government budget and 3.08% of the country’s GDP.
“Based on discussions, I realized that we are far better off than other countries like Bangladesh or Pakistan. Participants from India are even very interested in our CCT (Conditional Cash Transfer) Program. They want it replicated in their country. I told them CCT is directly helping poor families send their children to school, take care of their health, and drive local economy because the allowances given to them are spent in their community – although the fact remains that we still are perfecting this model.
“I believe our country is treading the right path – towards education and health for all,” the Congresswoman concluded.
The seminar was conducted for a cross-country comparison of programs, cost-effectiveness, and outcomes of public spending in these key social sectors of health and education. GDN covered all costs related to her participation in the event.