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How can rapidly aging East Asia sustain its economic dynamism?

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
Panos Agency


In the last three decades, East Asia has reaped the demographic dividend. An abundant and growing labor force powered almost one-third of the region’s per capita income growth from the 1960s to the 1990s, making it the world’s growth engine.
 
Now, East Asia is facing the challenges posed by another demographic trend: rapid aging. A new World Bank report finds that East Asia and Pacific is aging faster – and on a larger scale – than any other region in history.
 
More than 211 million people ages 65 and over live in East Asia and Pacific, accounting for 36 percent of the global population in that age group. By 2040, East Asia’s older population will more than double, to 479 million, and the working-age population will shrink by 10 percent to 15 percent in countries such as Korea, China, and Thailand.
 
Across the region, as the working-age population declines and the pace of aging accelerates, policy makers are concerned with the potential impact of aging on economic growth and rising demand for public spending on health, pension and long-term care systems.
 
As the region ages rapidly, how do governments, employers and households ensure that hard-working people live healthy and productive lives in old age? How do societies in East Asia and Pacific promote productive aging and become more inclusive?
 

HIV in the Philippines: Up close and personal

Rennan Ocheda's picture
As a nurse manager assigned to the Taguig City Social Hygiene Clinic and Drop-In Center for more than a year now, I have gone through unpredictable, funny, scary, sad, happy, thrilling and worthwhile experiences that even in my wildest dreams I never imagined would happen in my life.
 
The days that I spent on the Big Cities project taught me how to handle different people from all walks of life, who were diagnosed HIV positive. Working there, I learned that HIV/AIDS does not choose its victims, whether rich or poor.
 
One of them happened to be my close friend. I really didn’t know how to tell him about his HIV status. It was hard… really hard to be his HIV counselor. It was difficult putting myself in his shoes, for example, when this diagnosis must’ve felt like the end of the world for him. But I knew that I had to be strong for my friend.
 
I wondered how I could help him if I wasn’t strong myself, so I promised him that I would do my best to support him, which was similar to what I do for other people living with HIV.
 

We must prepare now for another major El Niño

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
El Niño is back and may be stronger than ever.
 
A wooden boat is seen stranded on the dry cracked riverbed of the Dawuhan Dam during drought season in Madiun, Indonesia's East Java province.  October 28, 2015 © ANTARA FOTO/Reuters/Corbis



The latest cyclical warming of Pacific Ocean waters, first observed centuries ago and formally tracked since 1950, began earlier this year and already has been felt across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Weather experts predict this El Niño will continue into the spring of 2016 and could wreak havoc, because climate change is likely to exacerbate the intensity of storms and flooding in some places and of severe drought and water shortages in others.

El Niño’s impacts are global, with heavy rain and severe flooding expected in South America and scorching weather and drought conditions likely in the Horn of Africa region.

Open insights is the next step to Open Data

Kenneth Abante's picture
One must think of government data like a matchstick; it must be taken out of its box and lit. The first step to generating public trust in a government institution is to show it has nothing to hide. The disclosure of data, or Open Data, is a public-private partnership for solving social issues transparently.
 
However, more than establishing moral authority, Open Data  also gives public institutions deeper insight and understanding into their own operations. Moving a step further, voluntarily disclosing not just data in comma separated values or excel spreadsheets, but insights -- even weaknesses -- to the public, can accelerate change across institutions and society. I say this with a caveat: disclosure should be made with a nuanced message, such as the acknowledgment of data and its limitations, the humility to accept limitations as an agency with scarce time and resources, and the courage to come up with clear steps for implementation. In the Philippines, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima echoes this, noting that “We must be the first to admit our weaknesses.” Open Insights is the next logical step to Open Data.
 

How good are Filipinos with their finances?

Nataliya Mylenko's picture
Making ends meet is a challenge for many Filipinos, and not only for those who are poor.  A recent survey on financial capability and inclusion, conducted by the World Bank in collaboration with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), for the first time provides data on household financial behavior decisions and knowledge of financial concepts.

The survey results indicate that 55% of respondents in the Philippines report not having enough money to pay for food or basic necessities and 26% say that this is a regular occurrence. Estimates derived from the survey data indicate that about 23 million adults making financial decisions face this situation.

The majority identify lack of income as the main reason for running short of money for basic necessities. Among households earning less than 10,000 Pesos ($217), 62% report lack of income as the reason.  Somewhat surprisingly, 64% among those with income of 50,000 Pesos ($1,086) or more also say that lack of income is the reason for not having enough money for basic necessities.

The Mindanao Trust Fund in the Philippines: still hopeful after 10 years

Roberto B. Tordecilla's picture
Since 2005, the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) has worked to build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Development Agency through the “learning-by-doing” approach. Over half a million people in 214 villages across 75 municipalities have benefited from the multi-donor trust fund.

I started working with the World Bank in 2005. I worked first with the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP), then with the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) about a year later. The ASFP, already at its mid-term, was in support of the 1996 peace agreement and thus the context was post-conflict. The MTF was in support of an on-going peace process and operated in the context of confidence-building.

Working first in the ASFP was a very useful preparation for my MTF work. The two projects were situated in the same geographic and socio-cultural context and had similar operational challenges (e.g., low capacity of staff, governance issues, etc.).

East Asia’s challenge: ensuring that growth helps poor

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文 | 한국어

Unprecedented economic growth in the last three decades propelled East Asia into an economic powerhouse responsible for a quarter of the world’s economy.

Hundreds of millions of people across the region, including in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, lifted themselves out of extreme poverty and enjoyed greater prosperity, largely because of more labor-intensive and inclusive growth.

The success didn’t come without challenges. As of last year, 100 million people in East Asia still live on $1.25 a day. About 260 million still live on $2 a day or less, and they could fall back into poverty if the global economy takes a turn for the worse or if they face health, food and other shocks at home. Their uncertain future shows the increasing inequality of East Asia’s galloping growth.

ถึงเวลาที่ต้องสร้างความแข็งแกร่งให้กับการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติในเอเชียตะวันออกและแปซิฟิก

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
ใน PDF: Korean | Khmer

ทุกครั้งที่ผมทราบข่าวว่ามีภัยพิบัติทางธรรมชาติเกิดขึ้น ผู้คนบาดเจ็บเสียชีวิต บ้านเรือนพังเสียหาย ชีวิตความเป็นอยู่ของผู้คนที่ประสบภัยต้องเปลี่ยนแปลงไป ผมรู้ว่าเราต้องทำอะไรสักอย่างเพื่อช่วยลดผลกระทบอันน่าสลดใจนี้ แทนที่จะรอให้มันเกิดขึ้นอีก

เรามีโอกาสจะผลักดันเรื่องนี้ในการประชุมนานาชาติเรื่องการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติที่จัดขึ้นปีนี้ ณ เมืองเซนได ประเทศญี่ปุ่น เพื่อสรุปแนวทางการดำเนินงานกรอบการดำเนินงานเฮียวโกะ ระยะที่ 2 (Hyogo Framework for Action-HFA2) ซึ่งเป็นแนวทางในการบริหารจัดการความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติแก่ผู้กำหนดนโยบายและผู้มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องในระดับนานาชาติ การประชุมครั้งนี้ถือเป็นโอกาสที่จะตั้งเป้าหมายในการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติและต่อสู้กับความยากจนอีกด้วย

ภัยพิบัติจากธรรมชาติมีมูลค่าความเสียหายมหาศาล ในรอบ 30 ปีที่ผ่านมา มีผู้เสียชีวิตไปแล้ว 2 ล้าน 5 แสนคน และสร้างความสูญเสียเป็นมูลค่า 4 ล้านล้านเหรียญสหรัฐฯ นอกจากนี้ยังส่งผลกระทบให้การพัฒนาชะงักลง

ในภูมิภาคเอเชีย การพัฒนาเขตเมืองอย่างรวดเร็วผนวกกับการวางผังเมืองยังไม่มีคุณภาพได้เพิ่มความเสี่ยงให้เมืองต่าง ๆ เป็นอย่างมาก โดยเฉพาะเมืองที่ตั้งอยู่แถบชายฝั่งและลุ่มแม่น้ำที่มีประชากรอาศัยอยู่หนาแน่น พายุไต้ฝุ่นไห่เยี่ยนได้คร่าชีวิตผู้คนกว่า 7,350 คนในฟิลิปปินส์ เมื่อปี 2556 แล้วยังส่งผลโดยตรงให้ความยากจนเพิ่มขึ้นร้อยละ 1.2

Sekaranglah waktunya memperkuat pengendalian risiko bencana di Asia Timur dan Pasifik

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
In PDF: Korean | Khmer

Setiap kali saya diberitahu terjadinya kembali sebuah bencana alam – tentang korban jiwa masyarakat, rumah-rumah yang hancur, matapencaharian yang hilang – saya teringat bagaimana pentingnya kita perlu bertindak guna mengurangi dampak tragedi tersebut. Kita  tidak bisa menunggu sampai bencana kembali terjadi.

Pada World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction di Sendai, yang akan berupaya mencari penerus Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) -- panduan bagi para pembuat kebijakan dan pemangku kepentingan internasional dalam bidang manajemen risiko bencana – peluang itu ada di tangan kita. Konferensi ini adalah peluang untuk menjadi tonggak penting dalam hal pengendalian risiko bencana dan pengentasan kemiskinan.

Biaya akibat bencana alam sudah sangat tinggi. Dalam periode 30 tahu, sekitar 2,5 juta korban jiwa dan $4 triliun hilang akibat bencana, dan hal ini berdampak pada upaya pembangunan.

Di Asia, urbanisasi yang pesat serta perencanaan yang kurang baik telah secara signifikan mempertajam kerentanan kota, khususnya perkotaan dengan tingkat kepadatan penduduk yang tinggi dan terletak di pesisir atau tepi sungai. Lebih dari 7.350 korban jiwa jatuh akibat Badai Haiyan  di Filipina pada tahun 2013, dan bencana tersebut secara langsung mengakibatkan naiknya tingkat kemiskinan sebesar 1,2 persen.

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