CAR’s primary challenge remains to be the translation of economic prosperity to social development or sense of human dignity. The CAR’s HDI has slipped from rank 8th in 1997 to rank 9th in 2000 among the 16 regions in the country, and the lowest HDI among the Luzon regions. Among the three HDI indicators, the region was lowest in Income Index with Benguet edging other CAR provinces in Income Index at 0.385 while Ifugao remained the cellar dweller in the region with 0.139. In terms of education, Abra, Benguet and Mt. Province have higher Education Index. All the provinces in CAR have Medium Life Expectancy Index. In the MBN Survey of 1996 and 1997, income and employment are the top-most unmet needs of the people in the Cordillera.
Specifically, the region is concerned with the following:
Widespread Disparity and Inequality of Income. Although the overall poverty situation in the Cordillera improved as indicated by the reduction in poverty incidence from 30.8 percent in 2000 to 25.8 percent in 2003, and Ifugao graduating as one of the top ten poorest provinces in the country in 2003, Mt. Province reentered the list with poverty incidence of 46.7 percent. Moreover, income inequality measured by Gini coefficient, showed CAR with a slight improvement on its 2000 index of 0.445 to 0.4294 in 2003. Further, the November 2005 estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines by the NSCB showed that CAR ranked 9th among the 16 regions in terms of poverty gap and ranked 8th in poverty severity. There is still high unequal distribution of income among the population, thus the need to increase overall incomes by 12.47 percent to alleviate the low income situation and to increase the average income of poor families by 5.50 percent for them to meet the poverty threshold.
Need to Strengthen Public-Private Sector Partnership Complementation in Social Development. It has been observed that while the LGC promotes NGO/PO participation in the local development councils and local boards, this provision has not been maximized as NGOs/POs partnering with the government sector is still lacking. Likewise, the centralized planning and implementation of programs and projects of NGAs is perceived to be inhibiting peopleu2019s participation in governance and development efforts. In the 1996 and 1997 MBN survey, peopleu2019s participation is 4th among the most unmet needs. Indicated in the APIS 2002, only Kalinga and Mt. Province performed well among the CAR provinces in terms of peopleu2019s membership to PO/NGO.
Continuing Observance of Some Socio-Cultural Practices that can slow down Social Development. Some indigenous practices still performed may adversely impinge on social development. Among others, the conduct of lavish feast or “cañao” for blessings or to appease the gods, impel celebrants to spend even beyond their means to feed the communities. This adversely impact on available family income for survival and investments. Likewise there could be lack of information on healthy practices on livelihood undertakings that negatively affect people’s health, e.g., use of agricultural chemicals, livestock production.
Slow improvement in Health Status. While health services are among those devolved to the LGUs, there are some LGUs that do not prioritize social services programs. As such, there is slow improvement in health situation. For example, the 2006 LGU expenditures showed Benguet spent only 15 percent for social services, and no CAR LGU spent for housing and employment programs. CAR’s progress of the implementation of the MDGs shows some indicators under four goals may have low probability of being attained by 2015 if no affirmative actions will be done on them.
On nutrition, Abra and Kalinga remain to have high incidence of combined low and very low below normal weights among pre-school children. Some improvements though were noted as the incidence in Abra went down from 18.10 in 2004 to 15.68 in 2007, while Kalinga’s went down from 16.8 in 2004 to 9.37 in 2007.
On environmental sustainability, indicators show that access to safe drinking water (levels I, II and III) is high for Baguio City, Benguet and Mt. Province with 100, 98.3 and 97.9 percent, respectively in 2006. However, only Baguio has high sanitary toilet coverage at 98.3 percent while the rest of the CAR provinces have below 80 percent.
National Government Prioritizing the MDGsu2019 Fulfillment in Budgetary Allocation. Agencies have continuously increased their budgets to meet MDG commitments and they now closely monitor achievements on MDG parameters.
Rich Indigenous Knowledge, Practices and Socially Responsive Cultural Institutions. The rich Cordillera traditions are incipient innovations rearing to be tapped for social development, e.g., practices on alternative medicine. The promulgation of the Indigenous Rights Act (IPRA) boasts integration of the Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices (IKSPs) into the development process. Specifically, the strong leadership of the community elders can propel people’s participation in governance. Likewise, the acceptability of alternative systems, e.g., mobile teaching, can trigger acceptability of other innovative systems for social development.
Presence of Enabling Laws Facilitative of Rural/Community Development.
Breakthroughs in rural/community development are made possible by various legislations. Among others is the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) providing for private sector participation in policy formulation and program/project implementation, i.e., monitoring of the progress of implementation of government projects. By this provision of law applied to its fullest extent advances social development faster and the peoplesu2019 welfare is best served.
3.2.3 Goal: The overall goal of social development is “can improved quality of life for all Cordillerans.”
3.2.4 Objectives: The following objectives shall be pursued: to reduce poverty and income inequality; to empower and make communities self-reliant; to improve socio-cultural well-being; and to sustain/maintain clean and healthy environment.
3.2.5 Targets: During the plan period, the following MDG Target shall be pursued:
In addition to the MDG target for health, the following shall be attained during the planning period: CBR of 20.12 and CDR of 3.69 by 2010. On nutrition, pre-school and school children malnutrition shall decline by 0.5% per annum in the next three years. On Social Welfare and Community Organization, 63 municipal communities empowered to become self-reliant. On socio-cultural enrichment, IKSPs from six ethno-linguistic groups recognized and mainstreamed in development. On environmental health, the number of households with potable water supply and sanitary toilets increased in all CAR municipalities.
Poverty Alleviation. This entails the comprehensive and integrated delivery of social services to the communities with provisions for asset reform, human development services and social protection, livelihood and employment, institution and capability building. Public agencies with private sector organizations shall converge to the identified poorest municipalities as convergence development areas. The appropriate disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches shall be undertaken uplifting the vulnerabilities and the social development status of communities particularly in disaster affected and prone areas.
Public-Private Sector Partnership in Development. Efforts to institutionalize and strengthen participation of basic sectors in all levels of governance shall be pursued. Capacity build-up of marginalized groups to form strong community organizations involved in community development management and able to engage in productive enterprises and livelihood shall be undertaken.
Socio-Cultural Enrichment and Development. CAR will pursue measures responsive to the needs and desires of IPs/ICCs for cultural integrity toward social development of communities. Its pursuit assures IPs/ICCs of their maximum participation particularly in health, education and other services.
Securing the Environment for Sustainable Supply of Potable Water. Strong complementation shall be encouraged between communities and domestic water supply developers and providers to maintain sanitary and healthy regimes in the communities. A clean and healthy environ shall be secured from domestic sewage disposal, chemical pollution,toxic and odorous fumes and fumigants, waste materials and debris adversely affecting health and means of livelihood. Provision of support to wholesome social life in the communities shall be encouraged, e.g., development/installation of Levels I, II, III water systems connected to individual homes. Health regulatory services delivery, health status monitoring and diseases surveillance shall be aggressively conducted.
3.2.7 Programs / Projects
Poverty Alleviation Program. This covers the government’s flagship poverty initiative Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS). Another component is the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation initiative involving Programs on Food for School and Tindahan Natin. Financial assistance to rural workers through training cum-production is extended to the communities (Poverty-free Zone initiatives). Moreover,”universalization” of health insurance for the communities shall be undertaken. Principles and practices of good population management, responsible parenthood, adolescent and youth development, gender and development shall be cascaded to the communities, including implementation of appropriate DRR approaches.
Public-Private Sector Partnership in Development. The program involves coordinated system for providing early intervention services for young children inside and outside the immediate family to improve quality of life, done either through the center-based or home-based approach. Schools First Initiative, among others, is implemented to improve basic education outcomes. This is done with forged partnership of individual schools and communities as well as networks of schools at the localities, local governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholder groups and associations. Organized data/information collection, banking and servicing to stakeholders shall be installed.
Socio-Cultural Enrichment and Development Program. Component of this program is the mainstreaming of Cordillera culture in the basic education curriculum responsive to the conditions, needs and aspirations of the IPs/ICCs. Recognition and protection of IPs/ICCsu2019 human rights will be integrated in all community-based development initiatives within the framework of national unity.
Health Environment Management and Development Program. The program involves the comprehensive delivery of health services to the communities to include the disease free zone initiatives, intensified disease prevention and control, child health, maternal health, healthy lifestyle, surveillance and epidemic management, disaster preparedness and response system, health promotion and advocacy, health facilities development, and improved access to low cost medicines.