[Statement] Women Demand, Automatic Appropriation for Social Programs! -FDC
Women Demand, Automatic Appropriation for Social Programs!
Freedom from Debt Coalition Women Members and Networks
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day of March 2012 the Freedom from Debt Coalition marches to press the P-Noy Government to own up to its’ long standing social debt to women.
Women have for the longest time taken on the responsibility of the health, well-being and development of their families as they provide for food on the table, health care services, ensuring roof over the heads of their families and education for their children. In reality, these also comprise the basic and essential needs of the Filipino people. But government has failed to provide for its citizens, as its programs fall short in providing these needs and services for all. In the end the task of providing becomes the woman’s burden, and becomes heavier during times of economic difficulties and crisis.
Food, Education, Health and Housing are rights, enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (IESCR) both adopted (1966); and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1984). These rights cover and ensure their economic and socio-cultural aspects, in concrete everyday needs this means being assured of employment, housing, education and health as some of the most basic services that government should be providing.
But government has failed to provide for its citizens, as its programs fall short in providing these needs and services for all. Social programs are sacrificed time and again, every time government’s fiscal standing falters.
Past and present administrations have prioritized debt servicing over the provision of social services, particularly health, education and housing.
From 1986 to 2011, the average annual spending for health is P15.01 billion; education, P102.87 billion; and, housing, P7.32 billion. However, the average annual debt service, both interest and principal payments, reaches P321.84 billion for the same period.
The stark difference in allocations have resulted in high maternal mortality, children not completing education, increasing number of street dwellers, and a wide gap between rich and poor. In the end, the task of providing becomes the woman’s burden, and becomes heavier during times of economic difficulties.
More than the difficulties, the country has a relatively higher maternal mortality ratio (deaths of women per 100,000 live births). According to UNDP 2008 data, 94 Filipino mothers die annually.
Women need not die from giving birth especially since key international and national policies, such as CEDAW and the Magna Carta of Women that assure women’s health from birth until death, have been passed over the last decades. Women’s health goes beyond looking after health during her reproductive years.
Going by WHO standards, adequate health programs require government budget allocations equivalent to 5% of gross domestic product. This means that based on record of yearly budget allocations for health, Philippine government has accumulated a health debt of P4.8 trillion from 1986 to 2011.
For education, 6 out of 10 children in the ages of 12-15 drop out from secondary education and eventually 3 are only able to reach tertiary level, according to government data.
The country abides by the UNESCO standard of 6% of GNP provision for adequate education for all, the Philippine government has an accumulated education debt of P3.56 trillion from 1986 to 2011.
Mothers struggle with sending their children to school, in their belief that education assures their children’s future. Thus for many mothers increasing drop-out rates means that their efforts are not matched by ample government service, and mother’s responsibility over providing for their children also continues to extend.
As regards shelter, the government has 11,947,992 housing backlog in all regions, according to the HUDCC report 2010. With P120,000 for a 45-square meter house, as estimated by the National Housing Authority, the government’s social debt to the housing sector amounts to P1.43 trillion for 2010 alone.
This meager housing allocation has failed to make housing accessible and affordable to many families. In fact, about 80% of families now face the sad situation of their communities being demolished or foreclosure of their property.
The government must honor this debt to the people and enact a law that would automatically allocate funds, based on rights enshrined in various legally binding documents, for social and economic services.
Meanwhile, women in agriculture continue to face challenges resulting from discrimination and marginalization. Women produce more than half of what the world eats. We spend 11 to 16 hours a day in productive and reproductive work and participate in 90 percent of planting and harvesting both in agriculture and fisheries. Sadly, the role and contribution of women in the rural sectors are often unrecognized, undervalued and unprotected.
Rural women make up less than half of agriculture and fisheries program, yet 30 percent of women small farmers have access to support services and only 9 percent have access to government-assisted capital support.
Rural women, especially indigenous women, are not visible in baseline statistics that serve as basis for policy formulation.
Women Demand, Automatic Appropriation for Social Programs!
KUMPAS, PIGLAS, WomanHealth Philippines, Kilusang pabahay ng Pilipinas (KPP), Kalayaan, Aniban ng Manggagawa Agrikultura (AMA), Partido ng Mangagawa (PM), KMBM, KATARUNGAN, Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Antipolo, Partido ng Lakas ng Masa (PLM), SANLAKAS, MAKABAYAN, United Cavite Workers Association (UCWA), Kongreso ng Pagkakaissa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), KOMUNIDAD, SM – Zone One Tondo, MAKALAYA, Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Paranaque (SMP), Bukluran ng Mangagawang Pilipino (BMP), KAISA-KA, DIWATA, Malayang Tinig ng Kababaihan (MATINIK), PMT, ADF, Zone One Tondo ng NCR, Metro Manila Vendor’s Association (MMVA), AMP, KKK, Task Force for Food Sovereignty (TFFS)