Social Watch Philippines urges Congress to support budget allocation that promote pro-poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in the 2024 budget
Social Watch Philippines (SWP), a citizens’ group decries the fact that 11 million Filipino families still do not have access to clean water and that 905,000 families still practice open defecation due to no access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) revealed that the said 11 million families still rely on “unprotected” deep wells, springs, rivers, lakes, and rainwater.
Contact Person: Janet Carandang
Mobile phone number: +63908-8845693
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·SEPTEMBER, 2021
The 200 civil organizations-strong Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), which pioneered citizens' engagement in the formulation of the national budget, met with legislators in the House of Representatives to lobby for alternative budget proposals for the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
In a series of discussions titled "Budget Serye sa Kongreso," held daily from September 20-24, 2021, some members of the House of Representatives welcomed the Social Watch Philippines - Alternative Budget Initiative's (SWP-ABI) proposed budgets for health, education, social protection, agriculture, child protection and sectoral concerns of persons with disabilities, senior citizens and children.
Among those who welcomed and expressed their support to the alternative budget proposals are Congressman Edcel Lagman - Superman of the First District of Albay, Congressman Alfred Vargas of the Fifth District of Quezon City and Chairperson of the House Committee on Social Services, Congresswoman Josy Sy Limkaichong of the First District of Negros Oriental and Congressman Roman Romulo of the Lone District of Pasig City and chairperson of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
DepEd receives two thumbs up for establishing Child Protection Unit during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased poverty and inequality in the country and has laid bare the weaknesses of the public health and social protection systems, educational systems as well as provision of livelihoods and employment to Filipinos. This has led to catastrophic consequences for workers and their families, the majority of whom are in the informal sector and many of whom are women.
Yet, two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no fundamental change in the government’s developmental strategy to address these systemic weaknesses and prioritize the care programs and services that our people need. Emerging from the worst period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is slowly returning to semblance of ‘normalcy’ (or what is also referred to as ‘the new normal’).
The dominant mindset of policymakers, especially those managing the economic levers, is that it is back to business as usual, where the private sector is seen as the main driver of development and with the government providing the ‘enabling policy environment.’ Here, the premise flows from the conventional notion that that the gains of GDP growth will ‘trickle down’ to benefit the poor and socially excluded groups. This premise, which has underpinned development policy across decades should have been long discredited, as the country, even during periods of relatively high growth, continued to be saddled with significant levels of poverty, thereby fueling inequality across various quality of life dimensions.
The urgent challenge therefore to the new administration is to promote the realization of our people’s economic, social, and political rights—elusive goals thus far, with a view to ensuring their dignity and well-being as well as care for and protect our environment. Furthermore, citizens have a right to influence and shape public policies and programs, especially as these affect them, their families and communities and thereby actively engage in actions to claim their rights. It is within this perspective that this People’s Scorecard is undertaken.
The global pandemic triggered by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused upheavals in people’s health and lives and in the economies of many countries. The pandemic also radically challenged state capacity to effectively and quickly protect citizens from adverse social and economic repercussions.
This publication from Social Watch Philippines, supported by Oxfam Pilipinas, features insights and recommendations arising from a citizens’ review of loans availed of by the Philippine government to finance programs aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Financing for Development in the Philippines
A Better Normal
Blog post by Ma. Victoria R. Raquiza
This blog post was originally posted by Oxfam Philippines on August 11, 2021
The pandemic caught us all by surprise. And since then, we have had to learn and cope and survive for ourselves, our families, and our communities. But, as often observed, a crisis also presents opportunities for us to not just learn, but also to soul search and find out more about ourselves and our society.
It seems like a lifetime ago when we were celebrated as one of the fastest and one of the most vibrant emerging economies in Asia and the world. During the last two decades, our growth rates, while fluctuating, steadily increased and reached relatively high levels within the last decade. And yet, while our GDP (gross development product) growth rates were high before the pandemic, the country witnessed that the gains of economic growth were not equitably distributed.
Citizens’ Monitoring of Financing for COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Focus on the AIIB Loan
The Citizens’ Monitoring of Financing for COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Focus on the AIIB Loan is a project under Social Watch Philippines.
Combining research, advocacy, and communications work, the project seeks to generate meaningful citizens’ participation in monitoring the program outcomes and policy impacts of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) COVID-19 Loan.
Worth US$750 million, the loan was signed in June 2020 and forms part of the financing generated by the government of the Philippines to fund the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program.
To know more about the project and the progress of the monitoring of the AIIB loan, you may visit http://covidloantracker.wordpress.com,
Alternative Budget Initiative
Reclaiming the People’s Purse
Public funds came from the people and should therefore be utilized primarily to ensure better quality of life for the people. But dowe hear actual voices of slum dwellers, indigenous people, farmers, fishers and persons with disabilities when the local and national budgets are being formulated and planned? Peoples’ money should improve people’s lives. Government invested billions of public funds to end poverty; but global and national economic growth left 1.9 billion people poorer and hungrier and with less opportunity for shelter, healthcare and education.
People's Public Finance Institute (PPFI)
SWP spearheads the ceation of People's Public Finance Institute, a learning center for both state and non-state actors towards making public fiance a major concern of every citizen; not just of a very small group of experts. The institute set-ups local learning hubs based in unversities and operated by pool of cadres from the academe committed to share expertise and engage the public finance processes.