Provide free or affordable social services, gov’t urged

July 22, 2016

by IBON Foundation

The basic economic issues confronting the new Duterte administration will take center stage in the peace negotiations as the next substantive agenda on the Comprehensive Agreement for Soci​al and Economic Reforms. IBON joins the public in aspiring for the soonest resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

#SONA2016 #justpeacePH | The new administration can ensure unhampered and sufficient social services for all Filipinos, research group IBON said barely a week before the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte. It can begin by acknowledging foremost that neoliberal policies, specifically privatization and deregulation, have commodified social services, and must be reversed, the group said.

Education, health and housing are basic rights that have been denied many Filipinos as these have become more unaffordable and inaccessible due to their largely privatized or corporatized state and direction, said IBON.

Youth groups claim that not less than an estimated one million grade 10 completers failed to enroll in the K-to-12 program’s Senior High School, which added two years to secondary education and thus also to Filipino families’ expenses. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 private schools and state colleges and universities increased tuition.

Though PhilHealth now reportedly covers 93 million Filipinos, huge out-of-pocket expenses hound even sponsored patients. Meanwhile more than 70 public hospitals stand to be privatized. This is bound to make various health services more expensive, said IBON.

According to reports, the housing backlog was at 5.5 million and growing in 2015 . Meanwhile, big construction firms offer low-cost housing at rates that neither the unemployed nor the needy can afford, noted IBON.

The group said that government can revoke the privatization of basic social services and assume the responsibility of providing these to the people to ensure accessibility. With national industrialization as major strategy, this can be made possible by a self-reliant and self-sufficient Philippine economy that gives priority to feeding and nurturing the majority of its citizens over advancing the business interests of a few, IBON said.