More than 100 participants from national government agencies, local government units and private sector organizations attended the Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last October 25, 2016 held at the RDC Hall, NEDA-VI Building, Fort San Pedro Road, Iloilo City.  The forum, organized by the Development Research Division of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-VI) is in consonance with the  27th National Statistics Month (NSM) Celebration with the theme: “Sustainable Development: Making Statistics Count”.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, is a set of agenda committed by world leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.  It targets an end to poverty in all its forms and envisions a shared responsibility in achieving peace and prosperity. The SDGs include 17 goals, 169 targets and 235 indicators. Alongside a general overview of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Assistant Director Myrna Clara B. Asuncion of the NEDA Social Development Staff discussed the Philippine initiatives on the implementation and mainstreaming of the SDGs. These national initiatives include building awareness, integration of the SDGs in plans and programs, development of SDG indicators, and reviewing present institutional mechanisms in effectively pursuing the goals.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will be the repository of data for the SDG indicators.  Issues and challenges of the SDGs to the Philippine Statistical System were discussed by Mr. Joseph Albert Niño M. Bulan of the Poverty and Human Development Statistics Division of PSA.  He further explained the reporting mechanisms, the initiatives (consultations, monitoring, assessment and reporting), and the next steps to be undertaken by his agency.

NEDA-VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal expressed that eradicating poverty, which is one of the 17 SDGs, is attainable in 15 years time.  Given that poverty incidence in Western Visayas is 22.8 (as of 2012), RD Bacal estimated the magnitude to be 1, 020,812 individuals or 204,162 families (as of Aug 2015).  Since the region’s poverty threshold is PHP 18,935.00 (Annual), there is a need to have at least two (2) working individuals in the family to be emancipated from poverty.  Since there are 4,051 barangays in Western Visayas (including Negros Occidental), this could translate to an average of 252 per barangay.  This is where data and profiling the poor is important.  The Listahanan database of the DSWD must be updated and readily available to serve as main reference in identifying who the poor are and where are they are specifically located in every LGU in order for interventions from government agencies to directly focus on targeted poor families.  This also ensures that interventions are tailor fit to the needs of specific poor individuals.

Ms. Ma. Teresa G. Guadalupe, chief of the NEDA-VI Development Research Division, presented some of the activities that NEDA and the LGUs can do in order to achieve the SDG goals and targets in Western Visayas. (IGPahila/NEDA)