ERNESTO M. PERNIA, PhD
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)
51ST SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT
United Nations Headquarters, New York
09 April 2018
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Philippines is now on a path of consistently strong economic growth. This is among the goals laid out in our government’s Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, which is geared toward the peoples’ long-term vision—we call “Our Ambition 2040.”
It envisions a prosperous, upper middle-class society where no one is poor; where people live long and healthy lives, and are smart and innovative; and a high-trust society where families thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse, and resilient communities.
The country recognizes the importance of addressing pressing population issues that hinder development. With more than 105 million people/Filipinos, the challenge to strike a balance between population and economic growth is an urgent matter. We take into account our young and growing working age population that offers the prospect for the demographic dividend.
We are pursuing policy reforms and programs in education and health. We are aggressively pursuing the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law, which institutionalizes the principles and goals of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). We are pleased to report that we have successfully lifted the judicial temporary restraining order that has stymied modern family planning.
More Filipinos now use contraceptives—up from 38 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2017, resulting in a decline in total fertility rate from 3 children per woman in 2013 to 2.7 in 2017.
Our national development agenda include the concerns of sustainable cities, human mobility, and international migration. One-half of our country’s population now live in urban areas. This makes the Philippines one of the fastest urbanizing countries in Asia and the Pacific region. Therefore, our government has launched a massive infrastructure investment program to create sustainable and livable cities.
Our so-called “Build, Build, Build” Program prioritizes pivotal infrastructure in the next four years. This is to enhance our people’s mobility and connectivity, and spur economic growth across the country.
Our National Spatial Strategy recognizes the role of cities as engines of economic growth and poverty reduction. The Strategy promotes regional clustering to build on efficiencies and maximize the benefits of scale and agglomeration economies.
The “Green, Green, Green” Program aims to transform the country’s 145 cities into more livable and sustainable communities, consistent with the New Urban Agenda
To support effective urban planning and development, all local government units are required to prepare and implement land use plans and zoning policies. This includes the establishment and use of local migration information systems to track internal migration movements. In terms of strengthening data on migration, the government will conduct the first ever National Migration Survey this year to provide empirical data on migration patterns.
We have more than 10 million Filipinos abroad who contribute to the national economy through remittances. To ensure their protection and promote their rights, we have set in place a number of governance initiatives.
We recently revised our Magna Carta for Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos, to strengthen measures in deployment and reintegration of Filipinos overseas. We maintain labor and consular offices to make welfare and legal services immediately available to them.
We continue to strengthen policy measures against human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and exploitation through our national laws and bilateral and regional agreements.
Nevertheless, while we recognize the economic contribution of overseas Filipinos, we remain firm on making international migration a choice rather than a necessity. Accordingly, we continue to assiduously address issues such as lack of gainful jobs that compel Filipinos to leave the country.
We continue to build international partnerships so that the rights of not only overseas Filipinos but also of all migrants worldwide, are protected and promoted. This resolve is demonstrated in our strong involvement in negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
Finally, Madame Chair,
We call on developed countries and partners to continue supporting developing countries, including middle-income countries, in improving the capacities to address the interlocking concerns of sustainable cities, human mobility, and international migration through stronger international cooperation and partnerships.
Further, we strongly call upon all countries to reach a global consensus that will advance the CPD’s work for the betterment of human lives based on our common humanity, rather than cultural and national differences.
Thank you, Madame Chair and more power.