Social Protection Programs Need Improvement

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines --- Human rights advocates urged policymakers yesterday to improve the country's social protection programs and increase funding for social services for the growing population of Filipino youth.

FoodFirst Information and Action Network Philippines (FIAN Philippines), Peoples Development Institute (PDI), and Action For Economic Reforms (AER) agreed during a forum that policymakers should seriously consider the importance of the country's demographics because the existing social protection programs leave out large segments of the poor vulnerable.

"Our country has a young population with an average of 22.5 years old and has only 8 percent of the population who will be 65 years old or older by 2030," Chavez said.

Joy Chavez, and AER fellow, noted that the Philippines has low dependency rate.

Dependency ratio is an age-population ratio of those typically not in the labor force or dependents (zero to 14 years old and 65 years old and above) and those in the labor or productive force (15-64 years old), she said. It is used to measure the pressure on productive population.

"The challenge now is how to sustain an active population," Chavez said.

She added that an active population exerts pressure on the provision of basic services, especially health care and education.

Moreover, it requires that the quantity and quality of employment be given special attention. Recent data show that 85 percent of the unemployed are educated (at least high school graduates), and half of the unemployed are 15-24 years old. …