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.
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
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,
SOCIAL WATCH PHILIPPINES POSITION PAPER
A Proposal to Simplify and Fast-Track the Social Amelioration Program and Other Social Protection Measures
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020
We are a network of civil society and community-based organizations that has consistently advocated for people-centered sustainable development.
We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of the government, civic groups and other stakeholders, especially the front-liners, who are doing their best to serve our people in spite of the physical and mental dangers posed by the #COVID19PH crisis, and the constraints on various fronts.
We note the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on grassroots communities. There is a pressing need to equalize life’s opportunities and conditions for all, not as an act of charity but as matter of rights and entitlement. We are concerned about the growing lack of food and other essential needs among the most vulnerable – especially the informally employed who comprise over 80 percent of Filipino workers - who now have lost their sources of incomes due to the pandemic and enhanced quarantine. The delayed delivery of public assistance is raising the level of frustration among the impoverished communities.
Social Watch has made its statement on how the Philippines could end poverty and achieve sustainable development through its Spotlight Report three years ago. The report wanted to change everything—from a proposed vision of prosperity without growth, to changing the strategy and indicators.
Towards Coherent Policies for Sustainable Development
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.