RP needs 41 years to lick poverty
October 22, 2004
MANILA, Philippines -
At the rate the economy and the country's population are growing, poverty in
the Philippines can be licked only by 2045 at the earliest, according to a
study presented at the Ninth National Convention on Statistics.
"For a potential growth
rate of real income per capita of 1 percent a year, which is consistent with
the medium-tem performance of the Philippine economy [of a growth of 3
percent with a population growth rate of 2 percent, which effectively is a
growth per capita of 1 percent], the average time taken to exit poverty
would be 41.2 years if this growth were continuous and uniform across the
population," said Jose Ramon G. Albert and Paula Monina Collado of the
Statistical Research and Training Center.
The two research staff
based their findings on simulations detailed in a recent paper titled
"Profile and Determinants of Poverty in the Philippines."
The 41-year timetable the
authors laid down, however, may be considered as the best case scenario for
poverty eradication in the country, as the problem may persist well beyond
2045 considering that the benefits from previous economic growth episodes
accrued more to the rich.
"[Poverty eradication] is
clearly an unrealistic scenario because growth is often skewed toward the
higher income brackets, and even more rarely continuous, yet this simulation
provides rather meaningful information at the extent of work that needs to
be done," the study said.
The authors noted that
poverty in the country "is largely a rural phenomenon," with seven in every
10 poor Filipinos residing in the countryside.
"The poverty rate in rural
areas is almost three times higher than it is in urban areas," they said,
adding, "Nearly half of all persons living in rural areas are poor [as
compared to a poverty rate of nearly one in five persons in urban areas]."
"The overwhelming numerical
importance of the rural poor means that poverty programs must be
concentrated in improving the plight of peoples' living standards in rural
areas and that we ought to promote policies on rural development, which
include support for rural entrepreneurial activities and rural
competitiveness, as well as enabling the improvement of farmers' access to
markets through infrastructure development and the creation of farmers'
markets in the cities [to ensure that less middle men reap the fruits of
farmers' labors]," they said.
Earlier, the Social Weather
Stations disclosed that 15.1 percent of Filipino household heads it polled
said their families had nothing to eat on more than one occasion in the last
This, the SWS said, was
triple the number of Filipinos that went hungry the previous year.
OFWs face educational equivalency problems in
By JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO
OFW Journalism Consortium, Inc.
TORONTO, Canada - Filipino
medical professionals, caregivers and engineers who look to this North
American country for work face the problem of having their educational
attainment in the Philippines certified by Canadian professional
According to leaders of
Filipino organizations and officials at the Philippine Consulate in Toronto,
the problem is that graduates of Philippine schools lack the number of years
required by the Canadian educational system to earn a degree and to be
allowed to practice as skilled professionals.
"Not too many Filipinos
could come to Canada
as professionals and work in the fields they were trained in (back home),"
said Rosalinda Javier, president of the Filipino Community Center.
The difficulty, she said, lies in educational equivalency.
One year less of
kindergarten, elementary education. The Canadian educational system has
eight years of kindergarten and elementary education, four years in
secondary education, and four-to-five years of university studies depending
on the academic degree being pursued, for a total of 16 to 17 years. The
Philippines, on the other hand, has seven years of kindergarten and
elementary education, four years of secondary education, and four-to-five
years university studies for a total of 15-to-16 years of schooling--or one
to two years short of the Canadian requirement.
In addition, the
educational system in Canada
is handled by Canada's different provinces. The province of Ontario, where
Toronto falls under, abides by the Canadian national system of 16-to-17
years of schooling. Rosario Manasan, a Filipina who works for the Canadian
nonprofit group Catholic Community Services of York Region (CCSYR), said
that since Canada's primary and secondary education span a total of 12
years, as compared to the Philippines' ten, "(Canadian authorities) will
tell you to take up high school for one or two more years".
The educational equivalency
problem is something that foreign nationals, except those who come from the
Commonwealth states, must face in Canada, says Toronto Consul-General
No work, no license
Javier said that since
Canadian authorities count the number of years in school and since foreign
nationals like Filipinos have less number of schooling years, not only can
these nationals not be admitted for work, neither can their licenses, in the
case of some professions, be certified. According to Javier, Filipino
nurses, doctors and engineers are forced to take on other jobs because of
the educational equivalency problem. She cited the example of a couple, both
engineering graduates of the University of the Philippines, who have not
been able to take the first step in applying for a license with Ontario's
professional association for engineers. "Quite a few of the caregivers and
nannies are nurses. After they have finished their contracts as caregivers
and nannies, they can be nurses. At the Filipino Community Center,
we have an ultra-sound technician who is a doctor," Javier said.
The Philippine Overseas
Labor Officer (POLO) in Toronto,
Rolando Olalia, whose office handles this problem with Canadian officials,
said nurses he has dealt with complain that much of what the Canadians teach
they have already taken up in the Philippines.
Certifying the degrees that
Filipinos earned back home is another challenge, says Manasan. He said that
the provinces in Canada
have professional associations, known as "colleges," that regulate the
professions much like the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC)
regulates the professions in the Philippines.
22 regulated professions,
There are 22 regulated
professions and corresponding colleges in Ontario, Manasan said. Foreign
professionals must get the approval of the college concerned, after which
they are given slots that are open every year. Javier, who has been involved
in advocacy efforts to allow Filipino professionals to be certified for
employment, said that the most difficult colleges to deal with are the
College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario (CPSO), the Professional
Engineers Ontario (PEO), and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO).
These organizations, she
said, "hold the key regarding the equivalency issue and providing
certifications to foreigners in their respective professions". The most
difficult of these colleges is the CPSO. According to its website, the CPSO
requires international medical graduates (IMG) to "have all the Canadian
postgraduate qualifications required for an Independent Practice
certificate. The College does not recognize any non-Canadian alternatives to
Doctors must hold a
postgraduate education certificate, which is renewed annually and held
during postgraduate medical training at an Ontario
medical school. This certificate, the CPSO website says, "is obtained after
graduation with a medical degree from an accredited medical school in North America
or an acceptable medical school outside of North America".
There are terms, conditions
and limitations to the certificate. "The holder may practice medicine only
as required by the postgraduate program and only in clinical teaching units
or settings affiliated with a postgraduate program, and may not charge fees
for services," the CPSO website says. Foreigners must pass the Medical
Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE), and the Medical Council of
Canada Qualifying Exam (MCCQE).
Entry-point program for
The CPSO has created an
entry-point program called IMG-Ontario so that foreigners can gain access to
the qualifications for independent practice. IMG - Ontario, says the CPSO
website, "accepts applications from IMGs and selects candidates based on the
outcomes of various objective screening measures and criteria".
Selected IMGs are then
offered positions in residency programs in Ontario or in pre-residency
clerkships. These programs lead to certification for the College of Family
Physicians in Canada (CFPC) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Canada (RCPSC) and, ultimately, to eligibility for an independent
practice certificate of registration from the College.
The Filipino consulate in
Toronto says there are 239,160 Filipino immigrants and non-permanent
residents in Canada (232,670 of whom are immigrants); 121,855 of them reside
within Ontario (119,215 of whom are immigrants). Among Ontario's 12 cities, Toronto has the highest
concentration of Filipino immigrants and non-permanent residents with
105,340. There are 189,365 Filipinos in the whole of Canada with jobs,
59,095 of whom are in sales and services; 36,220 are in business, finance
and administration; 24,645 are in jobs unique to processing, manufacturing
and utilities; 21,145 are in health occupations; 14,635 are in trade,
transport and equipment operations; 11,857 are in the natural and applies
sciences professions; 8,850 are into management jobs; 6,510 are in social
science, education, government services and Church-related jobs; 2,765 are
in the arts, culture, recreation and sports; and 840 are in jobs unique to
the primary industry.
For the province of
Ontario, where there are 95,470 Filipinos with jobs, the top four jobs
classifications are: sales and services (25,950); business, finance and
administration (21,845); processing, manufacturing and utilities (12,340);
and health (9,865). Caregivers are part of sales and services.
Javier said Filipino
organizations and the consulate hold dialogues and lobby with important
officials in Ontario, such as the Ministry of Education. But even if the
Filipino worker has gained the necessary certification from the Canadian
professional association, there is still the employment problem. Said
Javier: "It is true that you must have connections here in Canada. For
doctors, no newcomer knows a hospital here." While officials of the
Consulate say that there are opportunities in Canada,
Toronto consul Oscar Torres warns that it is not easy for Filipinos to land
jobs here commensurate to their professional qualifications.
Samar 1st Dist. LGUs budge towards solving
CHITO DELA TORRE
CATBALOGAN, Samar - Local government
units of the towns of Gandara, San Jorge, Tarangnan and Pagsanghan, all in
the First Congressional District of Western Samar have started taking
initial steps towards arresting further destruction by flood waters that
inundate yearly for over 40 years now some 6,576 hectares of ricelands that
are covered by the government’s comprehensive agrarian reform program.
The moves came in the heels
of initiatives taken by personnel of the Department of Agrarian Reform upon
instructions by regional director Tiburcio A. Morales Jr. to whom the annual
problem was presented during his monthly consultative meeting here with
non-government organizations, people’s organizations and the media.
Director Morales clarified,
however, that the DAR’s response is only a way of helping the provincial
government, hence the DAR is only validating claims concerning the flood
phenomenon through verification of actual areas flooded, crops damaged, and
number of agrarian reform farmer-beneficiaries actually left victims by the
flood, and coordination with mayors and other local government offices
Initial data reaching the
DAR provincial office in Catbalogan show that some 3,055 CARP beneficiaries
in these four towns are affected, excluding those who are agricultural
lessees. The flooded areas reported also exclude those cultivated by small
land owners, and those falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional
Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC) at barrio Sapinit in San
Within this week, more
barangay resolutions seeking the assistance of the provincial government and
national government agencies concerned, such as the Department of Public
Works and Highways, Department of Agriculture, and National Irrigation
Administration are expected to be passed by the affected barangays.
Initiatives in Pagsanghan
Municipal agrarian reform
officer Dana Urbano reported to the DAR provincial office here that the
local government of Pagsanghan, which is under mayor Violeto H. Ceracas, had
decided recently to concentrate on Buenos Aires and San Luis as these are
the only two barrios where flood subsides after several days or much longer
than in other flooded areas. She said that the mayor’s office had informed
her that rice crops in these two barrios succumb also to saline water which
hastens death to the crops.
Last September 6, the
Sangguniang Bayan of Pagsanghan, in a regular session presided by vice-mayor
Alberto V. Mara and attended by all the SB members, including Association of
Barangay Captains president Florencio S. Repol and Sangguniang Kabataan
Federation president Jerica B. Tan, passed Resolution No. 08 which was
approved on the same date by mayor Ceracas.
The resolution is
requesting the DAR, as lead agency in the implementation of the CARP, as
well as the Office of the President, the provincial government of Samar and
other government agencies concerned “for assistance in the control of
perennial floods in our barangays.”
The SB said that “farmers
perennially affected by floods have urged the Sangguniang Bayan of
Pagsanghan, Samar to intercede in their behalf for a solution to the flood
problem that has affected their lives and their families, due to destruction
of agricultural crops, resulting to high incidence of poverty” and that
solving the problem “will ensure the attainment of high crop productivity
output as well as increased income of farm families in the different
In the same resolution, the
Pagsanghan SB said that “it is possible to control these perennial floods
through dredging (of) the end portion of Gandara River leading to the Samar
Sea, as well as the construction of a drainage canal linking the Bangon
River and the Pajo-Sapinit River.”
Earlier, 31 farmers in
Buenos Aires, tilling an aggregate area of 43 hectares said in an undated
petition that the construction of an open canal that will link the Bangon
Gote River and the Pajo River (both in Tarangnan town) is “the only
alternative way to control flood in our area”. They said they observed that
fishponds constructed near the mouth of the Gandara River (at Pagsanghan),
as well as the accumulated siltation there serve as a bottleneck that
constricts the flow of flood water, thereby resulting to submersion of our
crops for a number of days.”
The sanggunians of
barangays Buenos Aires and San Luis, respectively, passed on Sept. 1
Resolution No. 016 and on Sept. 6 Resolution No. 07 which are similarly
stated as that of the municipal council’s.
Mayor Grey’s Moves
San Jorge mayor Joseph V.
Grey personally discussed the flood problem, and what his town needs to at
least reduce its effects, to Samar vice-governor Jesus B. Redaja whom he joined at the latter’s
table during the recent induction of officers and new members of the
Catbalogan Cable Television Media Advocate Nucleus (CCATMAN). He said that
he had previously sought assistance from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
In the ensuing press
conference during the same program, mayor Grey said that vice-governor
Redaja had assured to look into the matter right in San Jorge.
He also revealed that days
earlier, he had asked some sangguniang bayan members to act on the same
Much earlier, shortly after
he assumed his seat as mayor, Grey personally led arrests of illegal cutters
of forest trees in his own town, in a bid to also save the forests and
mountains of San Jorge to thus prevent the occurrence of floods and erosion.
Last August 30, the council
of barangay Bulao unanimously approved a still undated resolution which also
requests the DAR to help set up a flood control system.
Years Ago in Gandara
Meanwhile, Pilar V.
Delector, SB secretary of Gandara, furnished the town’s MARO, Al Catorce,
with a certified copy of the Gandara SB’s Resolution No. 31 which was
approved unanimously on July 4, 2000, requesting then Senator Ramon Revilla
for financial assistance for the construction of a drainage canal from
barangay Pologon to barangay Ngoso, an area which also encloses three other
barangays - Hinogacan, San Agustin and Diaz - and comprises about 200
hectares of rice paddies cultivated by small farmers.
That resolution pointed out
that these barangays “easily get flooded even only (after) about a day of
heavy rainfall because of (their) geographic situation, with lowlands and
several creeks that easily overflow” and that “palay seedlings go to
wastage,” thus, farmers incur in “more losses than gains, and as a
consequence, they could not rise above of being marginal farmers” and that
their capital will “always be submerged in flooded paddies, not unless a
drainage canal will be constructed in these areas.”
Some 2,912 hectares of
lands distributed to 1,398 CARP beneficiaries through 554 land titles,
either emancipation patents (EPs) or certificates of land ownership award (CLOA),
reportedly go under water for a long period of time after a heavy rainfall.
First Shot from Tarangnan
On July 30, 2004, Pajo
became the first barangay in Tarangnan, and in the whole affected area in
the First District of Samar, to have cried out for help about the flood, the
biggest occurrence of which started in 1960, according to some old
villagers, after the Pajo Agri-Developers Association (PADA), through its
chairman Nonito Berdida and vice-chairman Benito P. Mabajen, requested
assistance from the DAR and the local media.
The barangay council, upon
call by punong barangay Judy A. Gabriela, passed a resolution (no. 04)
requesting Secretary Victor Domingo, Presidential Assistant on Poverty
Alleviation, for fund assistance for the construction of an open canal,
because Pajo’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) of P336,700 is not enough
even to pay for the labor cost and for miscellaneous expenses.
PADA, on the other hand,
addressed its resolution no. 1 to the DAR, stating that the flood water gets
stocked “for many days”, washing away their palay, and thus deprive farmers
of a harvest.
Teener's early sex triggers RP's baby boom
RICKY J. BAUTISTA
CEBU CITY - Mitch admits beginning to
have sex at age 14. Now 19, she is a single mother to a child whose father
she herself is unsure who.
In previous generations she
would be a shocking rarity. Not in her own, as borne out by studies of the
Commission on Population.
In fact, says Bruce Ragas,
the commission's chief for administrative services for Central Visayas,
Mitch's home region, 3.8 million of today's teenagers have had sex, at least
23% the highest percentage in the entire nation, after Metro Manila. The
average age of initiation is around 17, and, notes Ragas, that's sex done
unprotected from pregnancy.
Teenaged mothers account
for one of every 10 births in the region, and, definitely, Ragas says, it is
the early head start at sex that leads to 25% of its women already becoming
mothers at age 20 and 50% becoming mothers twice or thrice over at age 24.
Taken farther and wider,
the phenomenon doubtless goes from early sex to early pregnancy to a fair
contribution to over population.
Former Department of Health
undersecretary Mario S. Taguiwalo revealed that the current population
growth rate of 2.34%, the Philippine population of 76.5 million in 2000 will
double in 2039.
Taguiwalo said the fast
population growth rate has outspaced the country's economic development
straining the increasingly scarce resources.
The country's gross
domestic product (the total goods and services produce in a given period) in
2000 is similar to the 1980 level. "We have been running in place for 20
years," Taguiwalo said.
The looming fiscal crises
has triggered calls to reign in the high population growth rate. But the
government's lack of political will and its failure to act decisively has
blocked efforts to comprehensively address the problem.
Taguiwalo said the
population policies under the Arroyo administration, like the refusal to
fund the purchase of contraceptives, have been reversed previous efforts to
address the crisis
The hierarchy of the Roman
Catholic Church, which is opposed to modern or artificial contraceptive
methods, has greatly influenced the policies of the government including the
current administration, the experts said.
They consider this among
the biggest stumbling block even in just implementing long-existing laws and
Dr. Mercedes Conception,
board of director of the Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD)
said the high population growth rate should not be seen by government as
just one of the problems that must be solved because it cuts across all
other social problems like traffic congestion, environmental pollution, and
lack of social services.
She said there is a
pressing need to unite the broadest sectors possible to create a groundswell
that would force government to wake up from its own complacency, face the
problem squarely and implement the necessary policies, more specifically on
the alarming trend of early pregnancy among the youths nowadays.
8ID undertakes Army Literacy Patrol System
Maj. FELIX M. MANGYAO (INF), PA
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – One of the major
setbacks in the history of education in Region 8 is clearly manifested by
the fact that many of the populace particularly those living in the
far-flung areas cannot read or write. Most of them cannot even distinguish a
letter from number.
one factor to be considered why insurgency never seen to end. Some of these
people can easily be persuaded by some elements operating against the
government and are pondering on the small knowledge that local populace
have. With this problem on hand, a program called the Army Literacy Patrol
System (ALPS) aimed at helping the people in the remote places was
The ALPS is a military
program aimed at teaching the less fortunate folks on the basics of reading
and writing. It is designed to give free education to those who were not
able to attain any elementary or grade school lessons. In support to this,
the soldiers were deployed as soldier-teachers.
In 1995, the opening of
ALPS classes unfolded in Western Samar. The program were participated by
ALPS students from the different barangays like Hampton,
Granada and Barrruz all in the town of Matuguinao. The program is
continuously conducted such that in 2002, the 8ID ALPS garnered the 2nd Place during the
National Literacy Conference and Awards Night held at the Montevista,
Hotspring in Calamba, Laguna. The year 2003 has been another fruitful year,
the ALPS has added another milestone to the history of the 8th Infantry
Division, bagging one of the most coveted awards as an Outstanding Literacy
Program in a conference held at the Leyte Park, Tacloban City on September
3-5, 2003. As such aid conference was to identity diversity and other
socio-cultural contexts that affect learning and knowledge acquisition.
It is not the award though
that matters most. For such kind of organization, they are but ordinary.
However, what made this different was that the program in one way or another
has been bridging the gap and capturing the heart of the people. The ALPS is
a concrete empowering instrument at the grassroots. It showed the sincerity
of the government in helping those who have been deprived of their right to
learn. It also significant the undying desire of the 8th Infantry Division
where it gained not only the recognition but was one of the 16 finalist out
of 90 competing countries in a UNESCO contest for “International Peace Award
The solicited views and
perspectives then will provide insights for evolving strategies in
delivering education for indigenous of the country, and to serve as a venue
for sharing experiences in implementing functional literacy programs.
Since 1996 to date, the 8th
Infantry Division has conducted a total of 70 ALPS classes in the whole region with graduates numbering 2,089.
3 Brigades and 9 battalions under the command of MGen. Glenn J. Rabonza, the
Army’s fight against illiteracy in the region will surely go on until its
desired results of totally eradicating illiteracy in achieved.