Socioeconomic Planning Secretary

8th M&E Network Philippines Forum

“WE in M&E: Standing United to Strengthen National Capacity for Evidence-Based Decision Making”

November 19-20, 2019


Honorable Secretary Wendel E. Avisado,

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Enrico Gaveglia,

Distinguished resource speakers,

Fellow public servants,

Development professionals,

Our partners in civil society, the academe, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 8th Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Network Forum with the theme “WE in M&E: Standing United to Strengthen National Capacity for Evidence-Based Decision Making.

We are living in auspicious times for M&E. By awarding the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences to Dr. Esther Duflo and Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, of the randomized controlled trial method of research, the Nobel has given credence to the importance of getting policies backed by evidence. Professor Duflo and Professor Banerjee remind us that economists – and I am extending this to policymakers and public policy analysts present here today – are “more like plumbers; we solve problems with a combination of intuition grounded in science, some guesswork aided by experience, and a bunch of pure trial and error.”  This is why continuous monitoring and evaluation are so important because M&E data will continually teach us the correct way to plumb, so to speak, adjusting our policies if the data say so until we get them right.

In the past eight years, great strides have been made in further cultivating the M&E landscape in the public sector. The launching of the National Evaluation Policy Framework or the NEPF in 2015, which was jointly issued by NEDA and our partner DBM, has paved the way for a more evidence-based public sector management.

The NEPF is a framework for the purposive conduct of evaluation of policies, programs, and projects in the public sector in support of good governance, transparency, accountability, and evidence-based decision-making.  While there has been a number of milestones in laying down the foundation of the NEPF, we need to engage more with all stakeholders of M&E to accelerate the use of evidence as basis in crafting well-informed government policies and developing catalytic programs and projects.

That’s why this year’s theme focuses on the “we” aspect in monitoring and evaluation. By putting “we” in M&E, the government, policy-makers, development partners, M&E practitioners, and the public in general, are being called upon to work together in addressing our country’s development challenges through evidence-based decision-making.

I therefore urge everyone to actively engage in the plenary presentations and breakout sessions to share your views on and experiences in monitoring for results and the use of evaluation as input to an informed decision-making and policy reform. Your valuable inputs will shed light on how the country has progressed in terms of evidence-based public sector management. We also want to learn more about the areas for improvement and the mechanisms needed in order to fully maximize the potential of M&E towards our goal of laying the foundation for an inclusive growth, high trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy.

On the second day of this year’s Forum, we will be witnessing another milestone in the implementation of the NEPF, which is the launching of the National Evaluation Portal.  The portal will serve as repository of the NEPF, its guidelines, learning modules, and all evaluation studies commissioned by NEDA under the M&E Fund as well as other evaluation studies.

It will also serve as an online platform that enables a community of practice for dialogue and knowledge exchange on monitoring and evaluation.

Since 2017, NEDA has been commissioning numerous evaluation studies, some of which will be discussed during tomorrow’s breakout sessions to showcase good practices and lessons learned to guide those that will undertake their own evaluations in the future. With a higher demand for transparency and accountability in the public sector, we are calling for the support of concerned agencies in integrating the practice of evaluation in their respective mandates.

Overall, it is my hope that our learnings from this Forum will be evidently demonstrated in the manner we deliver our mandates in government.

Moreover, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to UNDP for being a long-standing partner of the Philippine government in our efforts to reduce poverty and in our goal of achieving sustainable human development, and for continuously assisting us in mounting various evaluation studies. We look forward to a more meaningful partnership with all of you in the years to come.

As we approach the last two years of the Duterte Administration, we remain committed to strengthen national capacity for evidence-based decision-making in the realm of policy-making and investment programming towards achieving our collective ambition of a “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay” for all Filipinos by 2040.

I wish you all a good and productive day! Thank you and mabuhay.