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President Aquino's Millennium Development Goals

Monday, 09 August 2010 00:47 Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

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President Aquinos first foreign trip is most likely the United Nations assembly. With barely five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the UN Secretary-General called on world leaders to attend the summit in New York on September 20-22 to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo believes that by that time he is already addressing the domestic issues, and he has advanced in his domestic issue programs. Of course like he said 'I cannot solve it in two or three months' but we set the guidelines, well be on track and the various government offices in charge are ther e on the ball. The Philippines was one of 189 countries that signed the Millennium Declaration in 2000.The MDGs are a set of eight timebound, concrete and specific goals aimed at significantly reducing, if not eradicating, extreme poverty by 2015. The Philippines is not only lagging in the elimination of poverty and hunger but has failed to achieveuniversal primary education, reduce maternal deaths, and combat HIV and AIDS.

The Philippines report on MDG President Aquino will most likely report the MDG status that was delivered to media even before the May 10, 2010 elections These are:. 1.

2.

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The Philippines is still off-track in more than 40 percent of the 21 indicators of the MDGs, according to a tripartite report made by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap). Based on a progress report on the MDGs last October 2009, the Philippine government may havetrouble ahead regarding targets for achieving universal primary education (goal number two), as well as those on improving maternal health (goal five), specifically improving the maternal mortality ratio and increasing access to reproductive health services. There was a high probability of meeting most of the other targets for the rest of the goals, which are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (goal one); promoting gender equality and empowering women (goal two); reducing child mortality (goal

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four); combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases (goal six); ensuring environmental sustainability (goal seven); and developing a global partnership for development (goal eight). The target reduction in maternal mortality rate is 52 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. The decline slowed down considerably and appears to have stalled, so that this goal has been identified as the least likely to be achieved for the Philippines.

Maternal mortality rate (MMR) declined in the Philippines but won't reach MDG targets. Though the decline of maternal mortality continued, it was at a sharply diminishing rate. Citing latest official statistics, Senator Pia Cayetano said "162 Filipino mothers die for every 100,000 births across the country or equivalent to around 11 mothers dying while giving birth every day. The Philippines reportedly has one of the highest MMRs in Southeast Asia, outpaced only by East Timor and Cambodia." The target reduction in maternal mortality rate is 52 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. The decline slowed down considerably and appears to have stalled, so that this goal has been identified as the least likely to be achieved for the Philippines.

What are President Aquinos MDGs?

With just two months in office by September 2010. there is not much he can do about the statistics. What is doable are setting guidelines and concrete plans. United Nations Millennium Campaign was able to get a matrix of platforms vis--vis the MDGs of the.presidential candidates. President Aquino presented seven out of eight MDGs as follows: MDG 1: Eradicate hunger and extreme poverty

Create jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the governments priority. Create more jobs by constructing farm-to-market and other access roads, strong micro credit and micro enterprise support, marketing facilities and infrastructure, IT support such as B2B and supply and logistics portals.

Push for conditional cash transfer insulated from politics by imposing conditions before releasing the money to deserving people.
MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education

Fix Philippine basic education through 12-year basic education cycle, universal preschooling for all, Madaris education as a sub-system within the education system, technical vocational education as an alternative stream in senior high school,ensuring that every child is a reader by grade 1, focusing on science and math proficiency, providing assistance to private schools as essential partners in basic education, rationalizing the medium of instruction, providing quality textbooks forging of covenant with local governments to build more schools.
MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Promote equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policies and programs
MDG 4: Reduce child mortality

Recognize the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance.
MDG 5: Improve maternal health

Refine the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) Bundle health and nutrition services with educational objectives where appropriate; eg. breakfast feeding.
While against abortion, open to different types of contraceptives, education and support to ease down the problems of population pressure MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS , Malaria and other diseases

Task the Department of Health to install a nationwide system of holistic and preventive approaches to medicine.
MDG 7 : Ensure environmental sustainability

Plan alternative, inclusive urban development where people of varying income levels are integrated in productive, healthy and safe communities. Encourage sustainable use of resources to benefit the present and future generations. Commit to a covenant with the urban poor with the following principles: no evictions without decent relocation, provision of support for area upgrading and in-city resettlement, provision of basic services that benefit poor communities, allocation for housing, creation of jobs, increased cooperation with LGUs, post-Ondoy rehabilitation program, participation and stakeholdership

There is nothing listed for the 8th MDG which is a global partnership for development. Perhaps the president can make use of the plans from other presidential candidates, Joseph Estrada whose goals were to

Negotiate carefully with other international claimants to various land and water territories of the Republic of the Philippines in the South China Sea while fighting for Philippine territorial integrity. Strengthen ties, especially trading relations, with Asian neighbors such as China whose economy is growing rapidly. Strengthen relations with receiver countries of the Philippines millions of overseas foreign workers in order to ensure our workers protection and encour Maintain the Philippines strong relations with international giants such as the United States without comprising matters that involve the nations territorial integrity.

President Aquinos commitment to improve maternal health

The president should deliver his MDGs and report to the summit in New York, for all the world leaders to hear. He needs to reiterate the MDGs he stated during the campaign period or redefine them to clearer goals. While targets for MDG 5 does not seem optimistic today, a little progress goes a long way in saving lives of mothers. The Reproductive Health (RH) bill is a controversial word. There has been so much horrible propaganda that RH bill is for abortion when in fact the bill is comprised of many sections that deals with sex education, responsible parenthood and maternal health . The United Nations expressed concern last year over the inadequate reproductive health services and information, the low rates of contraceptive use [36 percent of women relied on modern family planning methods in 2006] and the difficulties in obtaining access to artificial methods of contraception, which contribute to the high rates of teenage pregnancies and maternal deaths. We all know that nothing has happened to the RH Bill . The first comprehensive version of House Bill 8110 or The Integrated Population and Development Act of 1999 was filed in the 11th Congress . It 's been 10 years ago. Rep. Edcel C. Lagman refiled the RH Bill in the 15th Congress as House Bill No. 96 or or the Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population and Development . President Aquino mentions that the RH bill should be refined. Lets not wait for the RH bill to be refined as this has been a politicized issue for so long. The RH Bill in the 14th Congress failed to pass due to opposition dilatory maneuvers, lack of quorum and faltering commitment of the House

leadershipThough Lagman is optimistic that the RH Bill will be passed in the 15 thCongress and there is support from the Department of Health, mothers continue to die daily.

Measures to address this mortality needs to be acted today while the RH bill has yet to be passed. There is a policy brief to give guidance to policy makers on the reduction of maternal mortality. Senator Pia Cayetano recently filed Senate Bill No.139, the proposed Midwife to the Barangay Act of 2010, to help reduce the countrys high maternal mortality rate. Of course the senate bill needs to be passed b ut the bill presents a doable action plan that the Aquino administration can already act on, such as the deploy of at least one registered midwife or komadrona for every barangay to complement existing professional medical personnel in the locality, especially in far-flung areas where maternal health services are insufficient. No mother should have to die while giving birth. No woman should have to pay with her life for giving life, says SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon, calling for global support for United Nations efforts to make motherhood safe for all. I am certain President Aquino and I agree on that. It is critical that Millennium Development Goal Number 5 (to improve maternal health) be implemented based on recommendations already laid out in the policy brief and by those closely involved with safe motherhood/maternal health programs of the country for many years.