healthcare

(Part 2): Petilla Health Model

Access to health services
Complementary to the national government’s initiative to expand the insurance coverage, the province also adopted a mechanism to further increase Philhealth enrolment in its locality. To target individually-paying members (whose challenge is to induce voluntarily enrolment, and regular and on-time payment of premiums), the province regularly promoted the services and benefits of Philhealth and disseminated reminders about relevant payment information via SMS.
Expansion of enrolment among the poor is also given importance. While the adoption of the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) database aided the national government in identifying poor families to be enrolled under the Sponsored Program, it does not guarantee inclusion of every poor household. And even if a poor Filipino is enrolled as sponsored, the use of Philhealth benefit (or of the facility, to begin with) is not guaranteed either.

The development of a system called the Philhealth Link program aided the province in addressing this problem. Designed to enable membership verification within the facility (in the case for example, when sponsored patients are unaware of their Philhealth enrolment), the program also becomes a useful tool for enrollment expansion.

Under the program, a facility personnel coordinates with a Philhealth employee who then validates the membership by matching the name, age, and/or residence of the patient, thus allowing for verification even in the absence of Philhealth ID. (To incentivize proper and efficient matching, the province compensates the Philhealth personnel-in-charge based on the number of cases successfully matched).

This mechanism allowed the facility to identify and include dependents, as well as poor patients not sponsored by the government since they are yet to be included in the NHTS database. Identified dependents and poor patients (as verified by a DSWD officer installed within the facility) are subsequently included in the list of sponsored members, thus ensuring the grant of Philhealth benefits to poor patients who choose to use the services in the facility.

Using the radio broadcast, billboard installation, and SMS, the province also promoted its health facilities— particularly the free services available to the poor—to further induce better availment. Using the funds received by the facilities from Philhealth, the province even provided monetary “rewards” for every service used by the patient; not only as a form of incentive but also to address the constraints entailed from lack of transportation money.

Lessons from the model
Critical to the success of the Petilla Health Model is the incorporation of an effective incentive mechanism to drive each player to behave in a manner that resulted in mutually beneficial outcomes for the various stakeholders: higher funds from Philhealth prompted local officials to ascertain the insurance coverage and service availment by the public; higher returns of rendering service in public facilities encouraged retention of doctors in government hospitals; and the ensured access and affordability of services, in addition to the rewards offered, encouraged the public to make use of the health services available.

Yet, despite its commendable outcomes, the Petilla model is not perfect. There are still ample opportunities for its improvement; it is not politically easy to implement, and has yet to cover services at the municipal level. It also may or may not be fully replicable in other areas. But surely, the basic lessons behind the reforms—coordination, information, simplicity of rules, innovative use of resources, and incentives—can be an effective guide for other local governments to follow.

Ragos is a researcher of and a member of the Sin Tax team of Action for Economic Reforms.

National Health Insurance: protecting the poor and the sick

“Social solidarity is about Filipinos caring for each other, it’s about the rich caring for the poor, it’s about the healthy caring for the sick…” – Former PhilHealth CEO Dr. Eduardo Banzon

Some supermodels pay a hefty insurance for body parts like their faces or their long flawless legs. Because they understand their importance to their modeling career, they ready themselves for the high costs of restoring (or losing, if the damage is irreparable) their beauty in case of accidents.

This concept of protection is generally the same with all insurance. More familiar examples, like car and life insurance, show that in essence, any insurance’s aim is to lessen the financial burden of a specific, unexpected future event.

PhilHealth or the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), an insurance specifically for health, also aims to protect Filipinos from health shocks. While only a few are blessed with eye-pleasing bodily features like those of supermodels, basically everyone, regardless of age, gender, and socio economic background, has an overall health or well-being which is considered a source of productivity that needs to be protected. This is why every Filipino must be enrolled in Philhealth.

Therefore, the government’s mandate as embodied in the PhilHealth program is to create a safety net for all. The need for protection from health shocks is universal and its benefits are critical in restoring individuals’ health and productivity, which essentially are the nation’s wealth.

As PhilHealth is a social health insurance program, it aims to pool risks and resources so that the healthy can pay for the health care costs of the weak and the sick, and subsidize the health care needs of the poor. The larger the extent of risk pooling, the lesser the required premium contributions or the more comprehensive benefit packages will be.

The ideal healthcare situation is where everyone receives primary and preventive health care, and those who get sick can easily access health facilities and check out of the hospital paying the least amount, or at most, with no out-of-pocket expenditure.

To achieve this, PhilHealth is mandated to provide a financing mechanism that covers all Filipinos, matches benefit packages to patients’ needs, and optimizes the relative values of those benefits.

Main Challenges to PhilHealth
Undeniably, the NHI goals are genuinely for the good of the Filipino people. The next questions to ask would be: (1) how should NHIP influence the other players in the health system (especially in ensuring the quality of services of health care providers) and (2) how effectively is it doing its job?
Challenges in increasing the enrollment and coverage of members persist – only 51% of the Filipino population was covered in 2011 (Quimbo, et. al 2013). The lack of effective information dissemination, inadequate number of accessible accredited facilities, and limited menu of benefit packages also lead to underutilization of benefits – only 9 out of 100 Filipinos (9%) received full reimbursement from the program as of 2011 (Quimbo, et. al 2013). PhilHealth must also continue to improve its system of membership verification, claims processing, and transactions handling.

What’s New?

The poorest families’ use of PhilHealth often involve problems in enrollment, utilization and overall out-of-pocket health expenditures.

The compulsory premium contribution (currently an average annual payment of P1,200 and will soon increase to P2,400) is a huge burden for those from the lowest income quintiles. At present their enrollment is made possible through partial or full subsidies of the local and national government. For 2014, however, the national government is devoting about P35 billion (the bulk of which will be sourced from the additional revenues from the Sin Tax Law) to fully subsidize PhilHealth premiums of 14.7 million poor families under the National Household Targeting System-Poverty Reduction. With this, only the national government sponsors the poorest of the poor; the LGUs, can then focus on sponsoring barangay health workers, and nutrition scholars, managing and upgrading hospitals, or other health-promoting activities.

Recent amendments to the Nationl Health Insurance Act also include shifting the Sponsored Program from a system of decentralized identification of poor households (with efforts from the national and the local government units) to a centralized one where only the Department of Social Welfare and Development provides the official list by employing a means test. This aims to remove “politicking” where mayors, congressmen and women might have been wrongfully using the program as carrots to reward allies and favorites.

To address high out-of-pocket health expenditures, especially of the poor, initial steps of action involve strengthening the implementation of the No Balance Billing (NBB) and the Case Rates System. The NBB policy is expected to guarantee that the poorest will no longer have to shell out money after availing themselves of health services in public health facilities. Meanwhile, the Case Rates System, which pays a fixed amount for the treatment of a specific disease or case, partly ensures that health care providers have less incentive to recommend unnecessary procedures or branded medicines (when generic ones are equally fine) that increase patients’ overall costs.

PhilHealth’s other major plan starting this year includes the launch of a new benefit package: the Z MORPH (Z Benefits Rate for Mobility, Orthosis, Rehabilitation, Prosthesis Help), in aside from other special benefit packages that cover catastrophic diseases and outpatient services.

It’s “Social Solidarity”
Not every PhilHealth member gets to enjoy benefits equivalent to his or her premium contributions. Neither are members able to keep their money as ”personal savings” and get them as a lump-sum amount in the future.
But all these seem less important than PhilHealth’s main purpose: “social solidarity.” Paying for one’s monthly PhilHealth premium may have made you a few pesos poorer, but its worth is more than saving a model’s scratched skin. It could mean saving the life of a poor dengue-stricken child at present, or you in the future, when you face a similar life-threatening health condition.

Editor’s note: Aloria is a research assistant of Action for Economic Reforms.

We need to be masters of the rain

Last night, Manila fell once again.  Drowned after 10 to 15 mm per hour of rain poured down the capital.  Tropical Storm Falcon was far off at sea.  It was Falcon pulling in monsoon.  Pretty much, productivity, and health go down the drain when the capital goes under water.

A LOT has changed at PAGASA.  In fact it is way better now at communicating information to the public.  A LOT still needs to change.  We still need the weather bureau for instance to be able to translate the scientific data into real world language.  And more importantly, I think the weather bureau needs to be able to determine the amount of rainfall that would strike any part of the country.

We need to be able to focus on saying 10 to 15 mm is expected in 3 hours, or in a day.  Is that do-able?  Is it a matter of getting the right equipment?  The right gear?  Is it a matter of getting more experts in the field to do this?

Knowing the rate of rainfall will give the MMDA some idea of what sort of traffic is going to come.  It gives the PNP and LGUs and disaster relief teams some idea of what equipment they’ll need and where to deploy.  It gives the DepEd and universities an idea whether classes should be suspended or not.  It gives offices an idea when to send their employees home to work from home.

We’re talking about billions of pesos in productivity lost every time the country’s capital sinks. We’re talking about people getting sick, or worse get caught up in flood and swept by a manhole.  We’re talking about infrastructure development that we could tailor to meet the demands of the times.  And it isn’t just in the capital, this could be applied across the country.

We need to invest on this, and invest on this as soon as possible.  PAGASA is our first line of defense in a nation that gets 15 to 20 storms a year.  It doesn’t have to be an Ondoy level typhoon— even this monsoon is packing more trouble than a storm.

Let’s also try to get more people to telecommute.  Let’s get more people to hold meetings over Skype or some other voice over IP.  Let’s get to use technology to make productivity better.   That means better, faster Internet as well.  In a country that gets this sort of weather year-in and year-out we have to find ways to keep creating money, and keep working while the elements are against us.

Let’s give PAGASA all the tools they will need, and all the funding they will need because this really translates to so much more— health of children, safety of our people, and productivity for our economy.

Arroyo spreads news in New York about her admin's feats

Arroyo spreads news in New York about her admin’s feats
AMITA LEGASPI
GMANews.TV

“Start spreading the news…” that’s how Liza Minelli’s 1977 song “New York, New York” goes.

That’s what former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did. At two recent events in New York in the United States, Arroyo highlighted the achievements of her administration.

Taunted in the Philippines for corruption issues, Arroyo found two international venues — the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference and the Important Dinner for Women — to cite her administration’s achievements, especially for women.

Arroyo attended the two international gatherings from September 20 to 22. Arroyo’s classmate, former US President Bill Clinton, and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan invited her to these events.

Both events focused on addressing women issues related to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states, and at least 23 international organizations, have agreed to achieve by the year 2015.

These goals include:
(1) Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger;
(2) Achieving universal primary education;
(3) Promoting gender equality and empowering women;
(4) Reducing child mortality rate;
(5) Improving maternal health;
(6) Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
(7) Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
(8) Developing a global partnership for development.

Presenter of commitments

In the 5th CGI conference, Arroyo was the “presenter of commitments” on enhanced education for about one million girls.

In a press release, Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo’s spokesperson, said the “commitment” was shared by Barclays (a financial services institution), Goldman Sachs (a global investment banking and securities firm) and Room to Read (a non-profit organization based in the US).

Women empowerment

During the 5th Important Dinner for Women, Arroyo was a discussant on the lagging targets on women empowerment and maternal deaths.

The discussion was participated in by Netherlands Prime minister Emily de Jongh-elnage, and Ida Odinga, wife of Kenya’s Prime Minister, among others.

During the event, the former president shared her administration’s accomplishments.

Arroyo said the country was among the world’s top in providing economic opportunities for women. She said the 2006-2007 global entrepreneurship monitor noted that the Philippines was the only in the country in the world where the women are more active in starting business than men.

She added there was a significant increase of women in the labor force, with 49% of all women now working, topping gender equality among managers, professional and technical workers.

Arroyo admin’s achievements

Arroyo also cited that the Philippines has been at the top of the ranking of developing countries in the World Economic Forum’s “global gender gap index” for four consecutive years. She added that the Philippines also has the highest ranking in Asia.

Arroyo further said the government tops in gender equality among legislators and senior officials, adding that women dominate civil service at the technical level.

“The Philippines continues to be the top performer in gender equality in literacy rate and enrollment in primary, secondary and tertiary education. The country also tops gender equality on life expentancy with women outliving men,” the former President said.

She also said that her administration also made landmark legislations for women, such as the enactment of the Magna Carta for Women, a comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women.

The magna carta seeks to recognize, protect, fulfill and promote the rights of Filipino women, particularly those in the marginalized sector.

She also cited the Anti-Violence against Women and the Trafficking Persons Act of 2003, recognizing that women are the number one victims of human trafficking.

Empowerment of women

She said the Philippines is the only country that automatically appropriates 5% of its annual budget for the empowerment of Filipino women.

Yet, like many other countries, the Philippines faces the difficult challenge of reducing maternal mortality from 160/100,000 in 2009 to 55/100,000 in 2015, she said.

Arroyo said maternal deaths affect not only women empowerment but also the promotion of an intact family unit, the breeding ground of an individual’s values and direction for the future.

She said most of maternal deaths are caused by the absence of birth experts and proper birth facilities.

Arroyo said her administration has thus made health care services more available for women. They also made pregnancy quality for public health insurance.

Arroyo also put priority to facility-based, rather than home-based delivery of babies, by upgrading the gynecological, obstetrics, and surgical services of government hospitals.

Aside from attending the two events, Arroyo also held meetings with philanthropists and non government organizations to discuss possible projects addressing the concerns of women and overseas Filipino workers. Arroyo also discussed possible infrastructure, relief, and reconstruction projects. –VVP, GMANews.TV

Infrastructure woes hinder MDGs

Infrastructure woes hinder MDGs
Written by Cai U. Ordinario
Business Mirror

DESPITE the country’s efforts to increase social spending through programs like the conditional cash-transfer (CCT) program to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) believes that addressing infrastructure constraints will still hold the key in achieving the goals by 2015.

In a statement, ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda said developing countries like the Philippines must address basic infrastructure constraints to achieve the MDGs in five years.

Kuroda said many areas in developing countries still do not have electricity, all-weather roads and other basic infrastructure. These limit access to health care and discourage children from completing their education.

He said the region is lagging in the targets for basic sanitation, infant mortality, maternal health, hunger and environmental improvements, and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Less developed countries, or those suffering from conflicts or disaster, will need more regional help to make progress, and the Asia and Pacific region must step up cross-border cooperation in trade, investment, knowledge and technology, to help bridge gaps in resources and capacities,” the ADB added.

Addressing these concerns is National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General
Dr. Cayetano Paderanga, who delivered the Philippines’ statement during the High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in New York City.

Paderanga, who is also the Socioeconomic Planning secretary, said while the Philippines made considerable strides in meeting some of the MDGs, like cutting child mortality, and malaria and tuberculosis incidence; increasing access to sanitation and safe and potable water; and providing equal education for girls, there is still a lot to be done.

The Neda chief said the measures that will be implemented by the national government to help achieve the MDGs will be included in the Medium-Term Development Plan for 2010-2016.

He said the MTDP will make sure this growth is inclusive and can help protect the vulnerable by ensuring access of every Filipino to quality health, education and employment opportunities.

These, Paderanga said, will be done through an appropriate mix of physical and social infrastructures, and by strengthening social safety nets, like CCTs and universal health care.

“Despite the gains attained in the last decade, we need to push ourselves more to meet the MDGs, particularly where we lag behind. Moreover, the Philippine scenario is characterized by wide disparities. Our latest progress report also shows that climate change poses a threat to the achievement of our targets. The population above the poverty threshold is declining as a result of low capacities to cope with the effects of shocks leading to more ‘transient poor,’” Paderanga said in a statement.

He urged development partners to also keep their promise of sharing a portion of their gross national income (GNI) to developing countries for MDG achievement. The United Nations official development assistance target is set at 0.7 percent of GNI.

“Excellencies, as we enter the last stretch, the Philippine government is exerting all means to deliver on its promise to realize its MDGs, not just as an international commitment but because our people demand it. Let us remember that each and every one of our citizens deserves a life of quality, meaning and dignity,” Paderanga said.

For its part, the Manila-based ADB said it is targeting increased support for basic infrastructure, such as roads, power and sanitation, which are crucial for meeting MDGs.

It also intends to scale up assistance for education, and for environmental improvements, including the use of clean energy, where ADB investments have grown to more than $1 billion a year, and which are targeted to double to $2 billion by 2013.

Kuroda added that countries in the Asia and the Pacific region, which is home to three-fifths of humanity and two-thirds of the world’s poor, represent the world’s best hope for achieving the MDGs by 2015.

“With more than 500 million people having overcome poverty since 1990, the target for reducing extreme income poverty is in sight. The region is also likely to achieve near universal primary school enrollment by 2015, attain gender parity in education, meet the target on access to safe drinking water, and halt the spread of deadly diseases such as TB and HIV,” Kuroda said.

The country’s fourth progress report on the MDGs showed it had a low probability of achieving indicators—such as increase elementary education net enrollment rate, elementary education cohort survival rate, elementary education completion rate, reduce by three quarters maternal mortality, universal access to reproductive health, halt HIV prevalence among 15 year olds, and provide comprehensive correct knowledge about HIV/AIDS to 15 to 24 year olds.

The report also showed the country had a medium probability of achieving the indicators on halving the proportion of population below the poverty threshold or P15,057 per year per person, halving the prevalence of underweight children under five years old, halving the proportion of households with per capita intake below 100 percent dietary energy requirement, universal access for the proportion of the population with advanced HIV infection to antiretroviral drugs, and halve the proportion of the population with access to safe water.

The indicators also showed the Philippines had a high probability of achieving of halving the proportion of population below the food threshold or P10,025 per year per person, all the indicators of Goal 3 which pertained to gender equality and women empowerment, indicators under Goal 4 of reducing child mortality, the malaria morbidity rate, the malaria mortality rate, the tuberculosis case-detection rate, tuberculosis-cure rate, and the proportion of the population with access to sanitary toilet facilities.

The MDGs are a set of eight goals, 22 quantitative targets and more than 60 specific indicators meant to serve as a focus for international and national development policy.

The first seven goals are concerned with outcomes, identifying the progress toward certain standards of human welfare and development that should be achieved globally and nationally by 2015. The eighth goal is concerned with “global partnership for development” to support the realization of all the goals.

RP STATEMENT DURING THE U.N.HIGH-LEVEL MEETING OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

RP STATEMENT DURING THE U.N.HIGH-LEVEL MEETING OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
http://www.neda.gov.ph/ads/press_releases/pr.asp?ID=1211
(Delivered by Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr.)

Mr. President,

Distinguished delegates,

The Philippines is one with the world in keeping the promise of achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Ten years after the UN Summit that crafted the MDGs, our country has made considerable strides in meeting most of its targets. The Philippines is on track in meeting the targets on child mortality; malaria and tuberculosis incidence; increasing access to sanitation and safe and potable water; and providing equal education for girls.

But despite the gains attained in the last decade, we need to push ourselves more to meet the MDGs, particularly where we lag behind. Moreover, the Philippine scenario is characterized by wide disparities. Our latest progress report also shows that climate change poses a threat to the achievement of our targets. The population above the poverty threshold is declining as a result of low capacities to cope with the effects of shocks leading to more “transient poor.”

It has been over two months since our country had a peaceful transition of power. The fresh mandate from the people has given the government the needed political will for reforms. The new administration’s cornerstone of good and effective governance will be a potent force in addressing challenges impeding attainment of the MDGs by 2015. Thus, it is very crucial for the Philippines to eradicate graft and corruption, so that public resources will be efficiently channeled to attaining the MDGs.

The Philippine Government will unveil its Medium-Term Development Plan for the period 2010 to 2016. The policies and strategies outlined will reflect our commitment to prioritize the MDGs. The Plan will make sure that this growth will be shared with the poor and the vulnerable by paving the concrete access of every Filipino to quality health, education and employment opportunities through appropriate mix of physical and social infrastructures, and by strengthening social safety nets, like conditional cash transfers and universal healthcare.

Regional dimensions and dynamics are considered in the Medium-Term Development Plan to address development disparities. The next Regional Development Plans shall contain localized targets and strategies in the regions.

We will focus measures to adapt to the global effects of climate change. An archipelago with a diverse ecology, the Philippines is highly vulnerable to disasters. Periodic (natural) disasters increase the vulnerability of poor Filipinos, thus derailing our efforts to reduce poverty and achieve the MDGs. We will integrate climate change adaptation strategies and measures to protect what we have already achieved and continue our work toward meeting MDG targets. We urge all UN member-states to likewise take the necessary action of adapting to climate change and help fellow citizens of this Earth cope with its effects.

The Philippines has always recognized the role of various stakeholders in the MDGs. Our Medium-Term Development Plan aims to harness the partnerships between the public and private sectors, including those in civil society, business, the academe, media, religious groups, and our international development partners. We will put in place an enabling environment for these stakeholders so that the MDG outcomes will be felt even in remote areas.

We will also ensure that environmental sustainability shall not be compromised in the process of economic growth.

The legislative branch is likewise proactive in building the legal foundations for the MDGs. The Philippine House of Representatives retained the Special Committee on the MDGs which prioritizes measures responsive to the MDGs.

In line with our MDG strategies, we also ask the UN System to share their knowledge on successful development approaches in other countries, particularly in areas where we lag, such as reducing poverty and hunger, dropout rates in the schools, maternal deaths, and HIV/AIDS cases.

Finally, as developing countries struggle to achieve the MDGs, it is essential that international development partners keep their promise. Four decades ago, privileged nations pledged to share a small portion of their Gross National Income to developing countries. As 2015 draws near, we urge these economically advanced countries to fulfill their commitments.

Excellencies, as we enter the last stretch, the Philippine Government is exerting all means to deliver on its promise to realize its MDGs, not just as an international commitment but because our people demand it. Let us remember that each and every one of our citizens deserves a life of quality, meaning and dignity.

Thank you and Mabuhay!

BSAIII action plan on peace and development in Mindanao

Aquino-Roxas Mindanao Peace and Development Agenda

Action Plan on Peace and Development in Mindanao

Peace and Security

Transparent and consultative peace process

Workable peace is possible only if supported by a broad, active and informed peace constituency.

  • I will assume direct responsibility for the revival of the peace process with the MILF.
  • I will reconstitute the peace panel with men and women of integrity who will directly report to me. There was a time when the peace process was doing well until the Arroyo Government began to use the peace negotiation as prop to political survival. I will see counsel from peace advocates like former OPAPP Secretary Deles, Peace Panel Head Afable and former Notre Dame University President, Fr. Mercado to put back on track the credibility needed in the peace process.
  • I will ensure the participation of various Mindanao stakeholders – Muslims, Lumad, Christian settlers – in the negotiating panels and working groups;
  • I will create a niche for the participation of other Muslim “gatekeepers” particularly traditional and LGU leaders, MNLF, the Ulama, Bangsamoro civil society.
  • Request the Bishops-Ulama Conference to submit a report on the results of the consultations it conducted in the aftermath of the failed MOA-AD; likewise with all known civil society organizations and academic institutions which undertook similar consultations or researches in the past year, such as the University Network on the Mindanao Question led by the UP School of Law, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy, and the Al Mujadilah Foundation.

The results of all these processes should be collated, with key points of agreement and contention identified for inputting into the peace mechanism, as appropriate. On this basis, a mechanism should be devised for these groups to participate in the continuing dialogue on and monitoring of their recommendations.

MNLF

  • I will immediately convene the Oversight Committee on the Organic Act on Muslim Mindanao (RA 9054) and complete a review and assessment of the implementation of the law. I will issue an Executive Order reviving/extending the function of the Oversight Committee, which was last convened before 2004 and which never completed its task, and impose a deadline for the completion of its work.
  • I will order the Department of Foreign Affairs, with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), to give a report on the tripartite review of the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement and cull the “immediate doable” measures that government can undertake.
  • I will order an inventory of the backlog on assistance to MNLF rebel returnees, as the basis for determining the requirements and timetable for addressing the gap and closing the existing program, while a new program is crafted in cooperation with concerned LGUs and approximating the international standards on DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation) of former combatants.

Indigenous People

  • We will review the recent appointment of the Commission to ensure they are in accordance with the law and rationalize the NCIP plantilla to professionalize the bureaucracy to do its mandate under the law, including the delineation of ancestral domains (AD) and support the development of the Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP).
  • I will work with IP communities and all land and resource-management related agencies for a thorough review of all Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs), Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs), and Certificates of Free Prior and Informed Consent (CFPICs) issued towards weeding out those issued defectively, fast-tracking decisions on all pending applications, and providing support for development and implementation of the ADRMP for areas covered by CADTs.
  • I will ensure basic education, health, and sanitation facilities and services for IP communities.
  • I will look into the immediate situation of security of IP communities in areas of ongoing armed conflict.

Internally Displaced Families

Families displaced by conflict will receive full support to be able to return to their communities of origin, if they so desire.

  • I will put up a compensatory fund which will provide shelter, food and livelihood assistance to enable the estimated 30,000 internally displaced families to return to their homes.

Lawless and Criminal Elements

I will dismantle private armies and take a firm hand against all forms of lawlessness

  • I will ensure the prosecution of all identified perpetrators of the Ampatuan massacre. I am aware that the families of the victims and witnesses of the crime are vulnerable to harassment as well as bribes to weaken the case. I will ensure that families of the victims and witnesses of the crime will receive adequate protection and support as they work for justice.
  • The Maguindanao massacre was not just a local Maguindanao problem. It was abetted by the national government with government policies and resources. DND should submit immediately the result of its investigation and inventory of the arms and ammunition confiscated from the Ampatuans and identify civilian and military leaders responsible for the build up of arsenal of the Ampatuans.
  • I will revoke EO546. Never again will public funds be used to support and maintain a private security force.
  • KFR incidents are national security concerns. I will commit full budgetary support to PACER in establishing and implementing an anti-kidnapping strategy in Mindanao; provide full support for the filing of charges against suspected perpetrators, including full protection for released victims and their families.
  • Under my watch, I will ensure that all security forces will be insulated from partisan politics. I will implement the Defense Reform Program started by former DND Secretary Nonong Cruz which aimed to build a professional AFP. A professional AFP along with a professional PNP committed solely to defend the constitution and uphold the law is the key to the dismantling of private armies and implementing the gun control. All forms of excuses for self-protection can be abandoned only when citizens trust state security forces.
  • We will aim to improve the ratio of security forces to our growing population.
  • All appointments in the AFP and PNP will be based on merit and performance.
  • Forces on the ground will be provided with adequate provisions, equipment and training to be able to discharge their duties effectively.

Governance

Performance Incentives

Setting National Policy: Performance- and outcome-driven over-investments in education, health, and employment interventions.

  • I will match every peso invested by 4th and 5th class LGUs in basic education, maternal and child health care and potable water and latrines.
  • Moreover, I will provide additional support to performing LGU’s so they can fast track filling the gaps in attaining targets for their education, health and sanitation programs. In education I will support LGU efforts to attain 100% basic education enrolment, lowering dropout rates and increasing completion rates.

Transparent and proper use of public funds

I will ensure that all fund releases to all LGUs will be transparent and its utilization fully accounted for.

  • I will support DBM’s effort started by former Secretary Emilia Boncodin in regularly publishing and disseminating all releases to the LGUs.
  • I commend COA for their fearless reports which exposed politically sensitive cases such as the Jocjoc Bolante fertilizer scam. I will ensure adequate support to state auditors for proper and accurate audit reports. And their reports will not end in filing cabinets. The OP will take the necessary action on irregularities in the COA reports.

Free and honest elections

I will ensure free, honest and orderly elections.

  • I will release the Mayuga Report to make public the findings on the role of the military in the controversial 2004 elections.
  • On the next ARMM election in 2011, I will install measures that will hold paramount the will of the people of ARMM. The military and the police will remain strictly politically neutral. They will ensure that the election is clean, orderly and peaceful.

Development

Infrastructure

To transform Mindanao into modern agricultural center and the nation’s food basket.

I will address infrastructure gap in farm to market roads, irrigation and post harvest facilities.

Corollary to this, to substantially reduce post-harvest losses, post-harvest facilities will be provided to Mindanao corn, coconut and rice farmers while processing facilities will be made available to coastal fishers and aquaculturists.

Additional irrigated farms will raise cropping intensity and hence productivity contributing in the process to the attainment of the goal of self-sufficiency for specific commodities and bolstering export-competitiveness for others.

  • During my term, I will improve its total road network by bringing its current paved road ratio closer to the national average. This will lower transport costs and post-harvest losses.
  • Corn driers will be priority of DA under my watch. Every 1,000 hectares of corn land will be serviced by at least 1 corn drier.
  • Irrigation coverage will be expanded. Mindanao has about 700,000 hectares of farms that need irrigation. We will expand irrigation facilities to service half of the area by the end of my term, subject to sound cost-benefit analysis.

Public Investment

In areas of Mindanao where private investors are hesitant to invest due to high risk and uncertainty, my administration will establish state enterprises that will partner with potential private investors or extend guarantees to them to spread the risks. The purpose is to generate investments in these areas as a way of jump-starting economic activities and providing employment opportunities so direly needed in these communities. This will be the government’s direct assault on breaking the vicious cycle of lack of jobs, resulting to greater poverty, in turn partly fuelling the conflict, leading to lack of investments and lack of jobs.

  • Among my priority will be government investment in the development of the Halal Industry. This, first and foremost, will answer the essential need of Filipino Muslims for access to food and non-food products that is consistent with their faith. This will also enable local producers, Muslims and non-Muslims, to partake of the multi-billion dollar world halal market.
  • I will encourage investments in our energy sector to tap more diverse sources of power and lower the cost of energy in the long term. In the short term, I will support moves to mitigate the effects of the power crisis such as:
    • Leasing power barges
    • Contracting additional generating capacity through cooperatives and private utilities
    • Allowing the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to use ancillary services such as the contracting of back-up generating capacity
    • Promoting demand side management

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

Binay accepts housing post

Binay accepts housing post
By Pia Lee-Brago
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay finally heeded President Aquino’s request for him to join the Cabinet, accepting the chairmanship of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

“After a discussion with the President, I am following his request to take charge of the housing sector as chair of the (HUDCC),” Binay said in a statement issued yesterday.

Prior to his acceptance, Gawad Kalinga had asked Binay to chair the HUDCC, a position previously held by his predecessor, former Vice President Noli de Castro.

“I look forward to implementing the President’s objectives for housing and shelter and working with volunteer organizations like the Gawad Kalinga, with whom I share a common dream of building not just homes but sustainable communities for our people,” Binay said, adding that he is ready to assist the President in his vision for the country and the people.

Aquino told the Malacañang Press Corps during a dinner on Tuesday that he offered five government posts to Binay, including the chairmanship of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), after he was told that the Vice President was reconsidering accepting a Cabinet position.

Joey Salgado, media officer of Binay, said the President was referring to posts offered during their Times Street meeting before the inaugural.

“The Vice President has always maintained that he is ready to assist the President. Such offer is not pre-conditioned on any Cabinet position,” Salgado said.

“It’s not the positions being offered to the Vice President but the need for people who can assist the President. In whatever capacity, the Vice President is ready to help,” he added.

GK founder Tony Meloto and executive director Luis Oquiñena met with Binay to present a national program, Kalinga sa Bayan, that would take care of the poor and the marginalized.

They asked the Vice President to champion this cause.

The program calls for GK’s basic commitment to help five million families, not just with land, homes and food, but in any other way that can ease their fears and suffering and raise the quality of their lives.

Kalinga sa Bayan will seek active engagement with local government units and offer itself as a catalyst for multi-sectoral initiatives to address basic needs and concerns of the poor in their towns and provinces.

“Vice President Binay as mayor of Makati has been an aggressive GK partner for two years and jointly supporting community building efforts of more than 400 informal settlers from Makati now relocated in a beautifully developed subdivision in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan,” GK said.

“Gawad Kalinga wants to share the effectiveness of its experience in addressing poverty in novel and powerful ways. GK believes that Vice President Binay will be a strong and dedicated champion for the poor with his own wisdom and effectiveness born of his experience and achievements in Makati City, which is the premier city of the country,” GK added.

GK said Makati residents, especially those in the lower economic classes, enjoy health, education and senior citizen benefits that are envied by those residing in other towns and cities in the Philippines.

Wanted: Viable government

Binay, on the other hand, expressed confidence that the Aquino administration will allocate more resources to social programs particularly health, education and housing in order to restore the dignity of ordinary Filipinos.

Speaking before a forum at the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance, Binay said that a society whose government neglects its people “can never be viable.”

He said social welfare is a temporary relief from the symptoms of chronic poverty but social programs can cure two of the most pernicious causes of poverty – ill health and ignorance.

“Social programs are not charity; they are a right of every citizen. Social programs go even further. They go beyond rights and entitlements to the core purpose of government,” Binay said.

“A society whose government neglects its sick and its hungry, its young and its seniors, its unemployed and unemployable can never be viable,” he added.

He said “if more resources are not allocated to social programs, the people, especially the youth, will not be able to contribute to the country’s prosperity.”

“If we keep putting the health and education of our young people on hold, all the more we will not attain prosperity because our young people will grow up unable to contribute to our economy in a meaningful way,” the Vice President said.

He stressed that it was the solution he made to bridge the gap between the rich and poor when he was mayor of Makati.

“The only real threat to Makati’s viability was the gap between its very rich and very poor as well as its long-time residents and newcomers, which was growing as fast as, probably even faster than, its economy,” Binay said.

Putting money where your mouth is

He chided his critics who gave political color to his pro-poor programs, saying it is not pampering the poor to get their votes, but the local government had to provide services that citizens deserve.

“It was a textbook social problem with a textbook solution: social programs,” he said.

Makati residents have benefited from Binay’s social programs. Around a million residents have “Yellow cards,” which cardholders can use to avail themselves of free healthcare services from the Ospital ng Makati. Senior citizens (“White” and “Blue” cardholders) also get additional discounts, P2,000 yearly allowance, free movies and birthday cakes.

Around 86,000 indigent families are also enrolled by the city in the national PhilHealth program, while schoolchildren are assured of free elementary and high school education.

“Makati’s social programs were not conceived and carried out to benefit only the poor,” Binay added.

The Vice President said that even the rich, especially the senior citizens, benefited from his programs, an area where the previous administration “miserably failed.”

“As for our senior citizen programs, even those who live in the most exclusive villages avail… Small privileges that they don’t need, but which they appreciate,” he said.

The Vice President said he has realized that “society will still not work if government fails to ensure that every citizen is able to share in the prosperity.”

De Castro: Binay has his hands full

Meanwhile, former vice president De Castro welcomed yesterday Binay’s decision to accept the HUDCC chairmanship.

De Castro said Binay could focus on the social problem of housing and continue the affordable housing programs for employees through the Pag-IBIG Fund.

“I can help him as former HUDCC chairman if he needs my help,” De Castro told The STAR in a telephone interview.

Interviewed over GMA-7, the Vice President said that he also wants to extend government assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers who are reportedly seeking government.

HUDCC was created by former President Corazon Aquino by virtue of Executive Order No. 90 dated 17 December 1986.

The EO, which also abolished the Ministry of Human Settlements, placed HUDCC under the direct supervision of the Office of the President to serve as the highest policy making body for housing and coordinate the activities of the government housing agencies to ensure the accomplishment of the National Shelter Program.

The Council is composed of key shelter agencies, namely: the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC), the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (HGC), and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB); Pag-IBIG Fund and Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC).

The chairman of the HUDCC sits as chairman of the board of the key shelter agencies and exercises supervision over the operations of the NHA, HGC, HLURB, NHMFC, Pag-IBIG and SHFC.

Binay, on the other hand, is an experienced local executive who was appointed by President Cory Aquino as Makati’s acting mayor after the EDSA Revolution.

In 1988, he was elected mayor of Makati and was reelected in 1992 and 1995. After a hiatus of three years, he again served as city mayor from 2001-2010, winning three consecutive elections.

He was also appointed governor of Metro Manila in 1987 in concurrent capacity and was later elected by his peers in Metro Manila as chairman of the Metro Manila Authority.

In 1998, Binay was appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) with Cabinet rank. He was also appointed vice-chairman of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.

The Vice President is also active in civic work. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Makati, R.I. District 3830, and is currently on his third term as the national president of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and was elected Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee Chairman on Feb. 8, 2008.