PH shows no improvement in HDI ranking

MANILA, Philippines - Despite gains it has made on the economic front, the Philippines remained at 114th globally for the 5th straight year in the Human Development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on Friday, March 15.

The HDI is a key indicator of citizens' state of health, education, and income, among others.

In the 2013 Human Development Report titled "The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World," the UNDP said the Philippines' HDI score has been improving in the past 30 years. But its score -- 0.654 -- is still slightly below the East Asia and the Pacific regional average of 0.683. (A total of 186 countries were covered by the UNDP study.)

"History and initial conditions are not insurmountable barriers. About half the progress in development, measured by the HDI, over the past 30 years is unexplained by the initial HDI value in 1980. Countries that start at a similar level—such as India and Pakistan, Chile and Venezuela, Malaysia and the Philippines, or Liberia and Senegal—have ended up with different outcomes," the HDR stated. 

"As the 2010 Human Development Report argued, if countries with similar starting points go on divergent development paths, but average global achievements have not changed, we can infer that it is national forces policies, institutions, social context and idiosyncratic shocks that drive national development outcomes. No country remains a prisoner of history for long if it wants to break out," the report read. 

The UNDP measures the performance of 186 countries in terms of education, health, and income dimensions as measured in the HDI. Factors such as per capita income, years of schooling, public spending, health, and others are included in the measurement of human development.

The Philippines, together with 5 other ASEAN countries, are ranked under medium human development. The other countries are:

Malaysia however was categorized as a high human development country, ranked 64th overall with a score of 0.769 and tied with countries such as Libya and Serbia. 

In the very high human development category, Brunei was ranked 30th with an HDI value of 0.855 while Singapore was ranked 18th in the world with an HDI value of 0.895, tied with Austria. 

Some data on the Philippines from the 2013 HDR include the following:

The rise of the South

The UNDP said there are 40 developing countries that have made striking gains in human development in recent years. The gains of these countries are expected to continue and by 2030, around 80% of the world’s middle class will be living in these "south" countries. 

In the Asia Pacific, where the Philippines belongs, HDI gains will be led by China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, according to UNDP. It said these countries can use their foreign reserve holdings and other resources for creative new approaches to development assistance within the region and beyond.

"The Asia Pacific region will be home to about two-thirds of the new global middle class, with billions of people becoming increasingly educated, socially engaged and internationally connected, though at significantly lower income levels than their counterparts in the middle class of the industrialized North," the UNDP said in a statement. 

The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the UNDP. The first HDR was released in 1990 and the 2013 is its 22nd edition. -