A New City, A New Metro Manila, A New Future - Part 10

11 September 2012

MANILA, Philippines - State of human development in the country

In terms of sustainability and vulnerability, compared to similarly situated countries, the Philippines has low rates of population without access to improved water and sanitation services, deaths due to indoor and outdoor air and water pollution, and the highest average per year per million people of the population affected by natural disasters. This means that 1 out of every 10 Filipinos has no access to improved water service; 1 out of every 4 Filipinos has no access to improved sanitation services; 1 out of every 3,105 Filipinos die because of indoor and outdoor air and water pollution; and an average of 1 out of every 16 Filipinos is affected by natural disasters every year.

On a positive note, the Philippines scored better in terms of primary energy supply, carbon dioxide emissions per capita, protected area, and population living on degraded land. (See Table 8)

The Philippines may be classified as having medium human development for now, but ascending to the top of the ladder alongside our rich neighbors is within sight. Just recently, the Hongkong Shanghai Bank of Commerce (HSBC) predicted that by the year 2050 the Philippines will jump 27 places and become the 16th largest economy in the world. Of course, this is only a "projection" - which is a fancy word for an "educated guess." It may or may not happen. But I have no doubt that building a new capital city will bring HSBC's glorious prediction so much closer to reality.

The challenge for our country is to achieve higher levels of human development in the next years and decades to come - the kind of development underpinned by sustainability and equity. We may be more fortunate than those classified as having low human development. But we should not be complacent. Building a new capital city is a crucial part of the strategy to achieve higher levels of human development, which I will discuss in the following sections. (To be continued)