Prioritize health, agri, education, Marcos urged
The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) has urged the Marcos administration to prioritize education, health care and agriculture to help the country recover fast from the COVID-19 pandemic that spawned twin public health and economic crises.
In a statement on Monday, the influential private sector group enumerated key policy recommendations with the aim of “achieving and sustaining a dynamic economy with widest participation of and benefits for Filipinos spanning all socioeconomic classes, economic sectors, geographic areas and ethnic affiliations.”
For the education sector, MAP raised the need to craft a road map addressing the learning crisis in the country. This should be based on international best practices, include foundational reforms and focus on lifelong learning and upskilling of educators, it explained.
MAP also asked for the return of in-person classes in schools located in areas where COVID-19 risks are low.
It urged the government to enhance the public health system by overhauling Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) “leadership and management, including investment in technology-enabled management systems and private outsourcing of certain functions.” This, after PhilHealth’s credibility was questioned after being involved in corruption issues.
MAP said that President Marcos also needs to ramp up programs addressing hunger, malnutrition and child stunting as these could have long-term adverse impact on an individual’s learning ability and personal health.
“Health, nutrition and education, especially of the young, are in crisis, and are interrelated problems that need to be urgently addressed because of their long-term consequences,” the group said.
For the agriculture sector to flourish, MAP told the new administration to enhance food value chains by upgrading transport and logistics facilities such as cold storage and cold chain facilities.
It was also crucial to “pursue structural, functional and budgetary reform in the agriculture bureaucracy, including consolidation of all agri and agri-related agencies, whose functions encompass all elements of the agricultural value chain,” MAP said.
“The productivity of our agricultural lands and coastal and inland waters likewise urgently need a substantial boost, especially in the face of a looming food crisis now widely anticipated as a consequence of recent world events emphasizing the need to ensure food security,” it added.
Other policy recommendations by MAP include greater participation in trade agreements, more public-private partnerships to develop infrastructure projects and taxation of profitable digital transactions. INQ
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