Friday, November 07, 2008

Philippine government accused of giving outdated reports to the UN

A human rights group from the Philippines is accusing it's government of giving outdated reports on poverty to the United Nations.

The group called the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates says a report about to be given to a UN committee should have been presented three years ago. This concerns Non Governmental Organizations in the country because the report may not reflect declines that have occurred due to the food crisis.

The ABS CBN's Lilita Balane reports that what the coalition of NGO's will present to the UN is quite different.

The government will send its representatives to Geneva, Switzerland to present a 2006 report, a combination of three reports which the government was unable to submit in 1995, 2000, and 2005.

“ [The government] is most likely to say it has implemented policies and programs to satisfy social and economic rights such as access to food, employment, housing, education, and health services,” said the NGO-PO Network for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, an alliance of non-government organizations who came up with an alternative report for the UNCESCR.

In the 2006 report, the government boasted of an average three to five percent growth in key sectors of the economy from 2001 to 2004.

Moreover, the official report said that poverty incidence in the Philippines has gone down to 30.4 percent in 2003, which according to Bernie Larin of PhilRights is not the real situation of the country at present.

He said the country landed fifth among the world’s most hungry nations with 4 out of 10 Filipinos admitting that they experience hunger in the past year based from the recent survey of Gallup International.

“Almost one-third of our school age children are not in school, 1.84 million for elementary age children and 3.94 million of our youth with ages 12-15. The poor are most likely to drop out of elementary grade compared to the rich families,” said Celia Soriano of Education Network Philippines.

Medical Actions Group, Inc added that despite the government’s recognition of the Right to Health, access to quality and affordable healthcare continues to elude the poor families and vulnerable sectors in need of medical aid.

Unlike the claims of the government that the country’s labor force increase from 29.674 million to 34.571 million since 1998 to 2003, Atty. Joselito S. Calivoso, Jr, Unit Coordinator of Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (Saligan) said that unemployment in the Philippines has been a perennial problem.

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