Earth Hour

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How to Meet our MDG Commitments

I recently attended a presentation called Pulong Saliksikan on MDGs at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).  The presenter, Dr. Roehlano Briones,  said that initial results of their study showed that the country will not achieve its MDG commitments for education and maternal health, and will only achieve minimal reductions in poverty under the present scenario.  To close the gaps, government must increase public spending in these sectors. 

He added that the country failed to achieve the first MDG on fighting extreme poverty.   Simulations showed that per capita income growth will not reduce poverty since the economy will not able to create higher paying jobs up to 2015. 

Poverty reduction will be faster if government spending is directed towards closing MDG gaps, although this will not contribute significantly to the attainment of MDG 1. However, we cannot depend on foreign assistance funds to finance this effort since we already have a limited access due to our low absorptive capacity for such.  Aside from this, there is 

The study recommends that government to close the MDG gaps through tax financing. This is feasible if there is an increase in efficiency in government tax collecting efforts. The proponents argue that this has been achieved before so there is no problem in doing it again.  They also recommended introducing new tax policies such as the rationalization of fiscal incentives and imposition of sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol.  Other sources of funds may come from increasing the charges for road users, especially trucks that inflict most damage to our roads.  Excise taxes on petroleum products may also be increased.

To learn more how the Philippines is faring with achieving the MDGs, click here.

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