‘Going Abroad As Choice Rather Than Necessity’
On behalf of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), the government agency I head under the Office of the President, I thank the Inquirer for its Dec. 23, 2014, editorial titled “Growing OFW savings.”
Indeed, the number of overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their families who save and invest their hard-earned incomes from working and living abroad has seen an increase in recent years, and this is a trend that we would like to see more of through policies, programs and multistakeholder initiatives until it becomes an irreversible mindset acquired and nurtured by OFs and their families.
Best Nations for Doing Business: PHL is 82nd
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines moved up eight places to rank 82nd out of 146 countries in Forbes’ Best Countries for Business List for 2014, up from 90th in the previous year.
Forbes’ list ranks nations based on 11 indicators: trade freedom, monetary freedom, property rights, innovation, technology, red tape, investor protection, corruption, personal freedom, tax burden and stock market performance.
The list used data from reports of organizations such as Heritage Foundation, World Economic Forum, Transparency International, Freedom House, World Bank, Central Intelligence Agency and Property Rights Alliance.
The Philippines moved up in the list amid improvements in eight out of 11 indicators.
The biggest gains were seen in terms of market performance as the country’s ranking rose by 50 places to reach the 13th spot in 2014 from 63rd in the previous year.
In terms of innovation, the country climbed 15 notches to land in 51st spot from 2013’s 66th spot.
Other indicators where the Philippines made improvements were in monetary freedom (up five places to 56th spot), property rights (up seven places to 67th), technology (up six places to 68th), red tape (up one place to 130th), corruption (up eight places to 78th) and personal freedom (up two places to 67th).
The country’s rankings were unchanged in terms of trade freedom and tax burden at 86th and 101st, respectively.
In terms of investor protection, the Philippines slid by 21 places to 124th in 2014 from the 103rd spot a year earlier.
The Philippines was in the middle of the pack within the Southeast Asian region.
Forbes’ list showed the Philippines behind Singapore (8th), Malaysia (37th), Thailand (62nd) and Indonesia (77th).
The country, however, performed better compared to Vietnam (111th), Cambodia (121st), Laos (130th) and Myanmar (143rd).
Forbes noted that while the Philippine economy has weathered global economic and financial downturns better than its regional peers, given its minimal exposure to international securities and lower reliance on exports, challenges still remain.
It said there has been limited progress in terms of bringing down unemployment and improving the quality of jobs.
“Long term challenges include reforming governance and the judicial system, building infrastructure, improving regulatory predictability, and the ease of doing business, attracting higher levels of local and foreign investments,” it said.
The 10 best economies for business in 2014 were Denmark, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Finland.
Those in the bottom 10 (137th to 146th) were Algeria, Gambia, Yemen, Venezuela, Angola, Haiti, Myanmar, Libya, Chad and Guinea.
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Message for New Year 2015
Isang taon na naman po ang lumipas at muli tayong tumatawid sa panibagong yugto ng pagtahak sa tuwid na landas. Papasok na po tayo sa ika-limang taon ng ating termino. At sa taong ito, sa tulong ninyong aming mga Boss, ay gagawin nating permanente ang pagbabagong tinatamasa na natin ngayon.
Sa paglingon natin sa nagdaang panahon, atin pong napatutunayan: Patung-patong man ang pagsubok na dumating sa atin, gaano man katindi ang puwersang humarang, at anumang pilit ng masasamang-loob na hilahin tayo pababa, basta’t nakatutok tayo sa iisang direksyon, basta’t magkakapit-bisig tayong humahakbang, walang makakapigil sa pag-abot natin sa ating mga pangarap.
Kamakailan nga lang po, nagdaan sa bansa ang Bagyong Ruby. Sa awa po ng Diyos, hindi naging ganoon kalubha at kalawak ang pinsalang dulot nito sa kalakhang bansa. Nais ko pong magbigay-pugay sa lahat ng nakipagkapit-bisig upang masiguro na marami sa ating kababayan ay mailayo sa peligro. Maraming salamat sa ating mga front-liner, first-responder, volunteer, at katuwang sa pribadong sektor, upang magbigay ng sapat na preparasyon at tugon sa kalamidad na ito.
Tunay nga po: Sa pagkakaisa at sa pagkilos nang may integridad, naisusulong natin ang transpormasyon ng lipunan. Sa ekonomiya po: Noong nakaraang taon, sa unang pagkakataon, nakamit natin ang investment grade status mula sa tatlong pinakatanyag na credit rating agencies sa mundo. Nitong Disyembre, panibagong upgrade pa ang ibinigay sa atin ng Moody’s, kasunod ng upgrade na binigay ng Standard and Poor’s noong Mayo. Suma-tutal: 21 positive credit rating actions na ang ating nakamit sa panahon ng ating panunungkulan.
Ano po ba ang ibig-sabihin nito para sa mga Pilipino? Mas murang mahihiram ng gobyerno ang pondo para sa mga programa’t proyekto; mas naeengganyo ang mga negosyanteng maglagak ng puhunan sa bansa, at mas mabilis nating maihahatid ang mga benepisyo sa ating mga kababayan. Sa atin namang Public-Private Partnership program: Ang dating iniiwasan, ngayon, nililigawan. Mula Disyembre 2011 hanggang Disyembre 2014, walong (8) PPP projects na ang nai-award at nalagdaan ng inyong pamahalaan. Ang halaga nito: mahigit 127 bilyong piso. Sa apat na taon natin sa tuwid na daan, nahigitan na natin ang pinagsamang anim (6) na aprubadong solicited PPP projects mula sa nakaraang tatlong administrasyon.
Tunay po: Kapag namamayani ang tiwala sa isa’t isa, wala tayong hindi magagawa. Taon-taon, lalo tayong napapalapit sa katuparan ng matagal na nating inaasam: Ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan at malawakang kaunlaran sa Mindanao. Nitong Marso lang, nalagdaan na natin ang Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Inaasahan naman nating maisasabatas ang Bangsamoro Basic Law sa lalong madaling panahon. Ang mga suliraning minana natin, hindi na natin ipapasa sa susunod sa atin. Ang backlog sa aklat, upuan, at silid-aralan, naisara na natin. Ang mga panibagong pangangailangan bunsod ng K to 12, pinupunuan na rin natin.
Sa TESDA: Mula Hulyo ng 2010 hanggang Setyembre ng 2014, nakapagpatapos na tayo ng 672,258 na mag-aaral sa kanilang Training-for-Work Scholarship Program. Ang maganda pa, ayon sa pag-aaral ng TESDA, 68.5 percent ng mga nagtapos noong 2012 ang nakahanap na ng trabaho sa loob lamang ng anim na buwan. Ang natitira naman, tinutulungan na rin nating makahanap ng trabaho. Sa industriya ng IT-BPM, 70.7 percent ng mga napagtapos ng TESDA at BPAP noong 2012 ang nagkatrabaho. Sa electronics and semiconductor naman, halos 96 percent ang employment rate ng mga napagtapos ng TESDA at SEIPI ngayong 2014.
Nitong Hunyo, sinimulan na rin natin ang Expanded Conditional Cash Transfer Program, na may pondong mahigit 12 bilyong piso. Ngayon, suportado na ang benepisyaryo mula elementarya hanggang umabot sa 18 taong gulang.
Ano po ba ang dulot nito? Sa pag-aaral ng Philippine Institute for Development Studies, mas mataas ng 40 percent ang sahod ng isang high school graduate, kumpara sa nakatapos lang ng ilang baitang sa elementarya. Ang laking pagkakaiba, di po ba? Paalala lang din po: Sa mga programa nating ito, ang ipinuhunan ng estado, mababawi rin ng estado, may sobra pa. Ang lahat ng ibubuwis ng ating iskolar oras na sila’y magkatrabaho hanggang sa magretiro, ay magbibigay sa mga kababayan natin ng mas maraming pagkakataon upang umasenso.
Bilang ama ng bayan, obligasyon kong pakinggan ang tinig ng lahat. Tungkulin kong maghanap ng solusyon sa mga problema. Dapat, katanggap-tanggap, may consensus, at makabubuti sa lahat. Kailangan kong isaalang-alang ang interes, punto-de-bista, at halaga ng adbokasiya ng bawat sektor. Hindi puwedeng tutukan lamang natin ang isang panig, at magbulag-bulagan na lamang sa iba. Dapat may nakahanda tayong tugon sa anumang tanong at suliranin. Ang hamon sa atin: palawakin ang ating mga pananaw. Ilagay natin ang ating mga sarili sa posisyon ng kabilang panig, upang magkaroon ng patas na pagtingin sa bawat usapin, at masigurong maisusulong ang kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino.
Isang halimbawa rito ang isyu sa enerhiya at kalikasan: Patuloy ang ating pagsisikap upang maghanap ng balanse sa pagtugon sa kakulangan sa enerhiya, at pangangalaga sa kalikasan. Iyan din po ang ating panawagan sa ating mga katuwang sa ibang mga sangay ng pamahalaan: Buksan natin ang ating mga isip at puso para sa kapakanan ng mas nakakarami. Sa mga pagkakataong tayo po ay may pagkukulang, nawa’y maging mulat tayo rito upang mas mapadali ang paghahanap natin ng angkop na tugon sa mga hamong kinakaharap natin.
Ang malinaw po, mainit man ang debate at matindi man ang diskurso, huwag nating kakalimutan na iisa ang hangarin ng bawat disenteng Pilipino: Siguruhing patas ang laban, palawakin ang oportunidad, at sa lalong madaling panahon ay iangat ang antas ng pamumuhay sa ating bansa.
Tandaan din po natin: Sa kabila ng mga tagumpay na ating pinagsikapan, nariyan pa rin ang iilan, nagmamanman sa ating bawat kilos, at nag-aabang ng anumang pagkakataon upang maibalik tayo sa lumang kalakaran. Mga Boss, patuloy sana tayong maging mapanuri at mapagmatyag. Sa pagpasok natin sa ikalimang taon ng ating pamahalaan, tiwala akong malinaw na sa inyo
kung sino ang mga tunay na kakampi ng taumbayan, at kung sino ang nagpapanggap lang. Ngayong napipitas na natin ang positibong bunga ng pagtahak sa tuwid na landas, mga Boss, lilihis pa ba tayo?
Sa muling pagharap ng sambayanan sa sangandaan, piliin nating muli ang landas ng malasakit at katuwiran; Pumanig tayo sa tama, at umiwas sa mga mapagsamantala. Napakaganda na po talaga ng ating nasimulan; Ang mga mithiin na dati-rati ay hindi natin magawang pangarapin, ngayon, isa-isa na nating nararating.
Tiwala sa isa’t isa ang nagdadala sa atin dito, at tiwala pa rin ang maghahatid sa atin patungo sa katuparan ng ating kolektibong mithiin. Sa gabay ng Poong Maykapal, at sa ambag ng bawat Pilipino, makakamit natin ang permanenteng pagbabago.
Mga Boss bago ako magtapos may pakiusap sana ako sa inyo. Sana naman iwasan na natin ang pagpapaputok ngayong Bagong Taon. Isipin natin ang naidudulot nito sa ating kapawa at kapaligiran. Nariyan ang kalat at makapal na usok na nagbubungsod ng matinding polusyon pati na ang malalakas na ingay na maaring makapinsala sa pandinig ng iba. Higit sa lahat, nagdudulot din ito ng peligro sa ating mga kababayan na kung tutuusin ay hindi naman kailangan. Pagtuunan na lang sana natin ng atensyon ang ating mga mahal sa buhay dahil alam natin sila naman ang tunay na dahilan kung bakit tayo nagpapasalamat at nagdiriwang.
Isang masigla at mapayapang Bagong Taon po sa ating lahat.
World Happiness Report 2015 Launched
Sustainable Development Solutions Network
The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The first report was published in2012, the second in 2013, and the third on April 23, 2015. Leading experts across fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy and more – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. The reports review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness. They reflect a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as a criteria for government policy.
The report is published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). It is edited by Professor John F. Helliwell, of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance; and Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Director of the SDSN, and Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.
The world has come a long way since the first World Happiness Report launched in 2012. Increasingly happiness is considered a proper measure of social progress and goal of public policy. A rapidly increasing number of national and local governments are using happiness data and research in their search for policies that could enable people to live better lives. Governments are measuring subjective well-being, and using well-being research as a guide to the design of public spaces and the delivery of public services.
Harnessing Happiness Data and Research to Improve Sustainable Development
The year 2015 is a watershed for humanity, with the pending adoption by UN member states of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September to help guide the world community towards a more inclusive and sustainable pattern of global development. The concepts of happiness and well-being are very likely to help guide progress towards sustainable development.
Sustainable development is a normative concept, calling for all societies to balance economic, social, and environmental objectives. When countries pursue GDP in a lopsided manner, overriding social and environmental objectives, the results often negatively impact human well- being. The SDGs are designed to help countries to achieve economic, social, and environmental objectives in harmony, thereby leading to higher levels of well-being for the present and future generations.
The SDGs will include goals, targets and quantitative indicators. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network, in its recommendations on the selection of SDG indicators, has strongly recommended the inclusion of indicators of Subjective Well-being and Positive Mood Affect to help guide and measure the progress towards the SDGs. We find considerable support of many governments and experts regarding the inclusion of such happiness indicators for the SDGs. The World Happiness Report 2015 once again underscores the fruitfulness of using happiness measurements for guiding policy making and for helping to assess the overall well-being in each society.
Overview of the Chapters
This report continues in the tradition of combining analysis of recent levels and trends of happiness data with chapters providing deeper analysis of specific issues.
- Chapter 2, by John Helliwell, Haifang Huang, and Shun Wang, contains our primary rankings of and explanations for life evaluations.
- Chapter 3, by Nicole Fortin, John Helliwell, and Shun Wang, presents a far broader range of happiness measures, and shows how they differ by gender, age and global region.
- Chapter 4, by Richard Layard and Gus O’Donnell, advocates and explains the use of happiness as the measure of benefit in cost-benefit analysis.
- Chapter 5, by Richard Davidson and Brianna Schuyler, surveys a range of important new results from the neuroscience of happiness.
- Chapter 6, by Richard Layard and Ann Hagell, is aimed especially at the happiness of the young – the one-third of the world population that is under the age of 18 years.
- Chapter 7, by Leonardo Becchetti, Luigino Bruni, and Stefano Zamagni, digs deeper into the ethical and community-level supports for happiness.
- Chapter 8, by Jeffrey Sachs, discusses importance of social capital for well-being and describes ways that societies may invest in social capital in order to promote well-being.
We now briefly describe the main findings of each chapter.
Chapter 2: The Geography of Happiness
Average life evaluations, where 0 represents the worst possible life and 10 the best possible, range from an average above 7.5 at the top of the rankings to below 3 at the bottom. A difference of 4 points in average life evaluations separates the 10 happiest countries from the 10 least happy countries.
Comparing the country rankings in World Happiness Report 2015 with those in World Happiness Report 2013, there is a combination of consistency and change. Nine of the top 10 countries in 2015 were also in the top 10 of 2013. But the ranking has changed, with Switzerland now at the top, followed closely by Iceland, Denmark and Norway. All four countries have average scores between 7.5 and 7.6, and the differences between them are not statistically significant. The rest of the top 10 (in order) are Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia, all with average scores above 7.28. There is more turnover, almost half, among the bottom 10 countries, all with average ladder scores below 3.7. Most are in sub-Saharan Africa, with the addition of Afghanistan and a further drop for Syria.
Three-quarters of the differences among countries, and also among regions, is accounted for by differences in six key variables: GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity. Differences in social support, incomes, and healthy life expectancy are the three most important factors.
Analysis of changes in life evaluations from 2005-2007 to 2012-2014 shows big international differences in how the global recession affected national happiness. The top three gainers were Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and Ecuador, with increases ranging from 0.97 to 1.12. The biggest drop in average life evaluations was in Greece, which lost almost 1.5 points, followed by Egypt with – 1.13 and Italy with -0.76 points. Of the 125 countries with data available for both 2005-2007 and 2012-2014, there were 53 countries with significant improvements, 41 with significant worsening, and 36 without significant change. These differing national experiences appear to be due some combination of differing exposure to the economic crisis and differences in the quality of governance, trust and social support. Countries with sufficiently high quality social capital appear to be able to sustain or even improve subjective well-being in the face of natural disasters or economic shocks, as the shocks provide them an opportunity to discover, use and build upon their communal links. In other cases, the economic crisis triggered drops in happiness greater than could be explained by falling incomes and higher unemployment.
Chapter 3: How Does Subjective Well-being Vary around the World by Gender and Age?
The analysis in this chapter extends beyond life evaluations to include a range of positive and negative experiences that show widely different patterns by gender, age and region. The positive experiences are happiness, smiling or laughter, enjoyment, feeling safe at night, feeling well-rested, and feeling interested. The six negative experiences are anger, worry, sadness, depression, stress and pain. For life evaluations, differences by gender are very small relative to those across countries, or even across ages within a country. On a global average basis, women’s life evaluations are slightly higher than men’s, by about 0.09 on the 10-point scale, or about 2% as large as the 4-point difference between the 10 most happy and 10 least happy countries. The differences among age groups are much larger, and differ considerably by region. On a global basis, average life evaluations start high among the youngest respondents, fall by almost 0.6 points by middle age, and are fairly flat thereafter. This global picture masks big regional differences, with U-shapes in some countries and declines in others.
For the six positive and six negative experiences, there are striking differences by gender, age and region, some revealing larger cross-cultural differences in experiences than had previously been studied.
A parallel analysis of the six main variables used in Chapter 2 to explain international differences and changes in life evaluations also shows the value of considering age, gender and region at the same time to get a better understanding of the global trends and differences. The importance of the social context shows up strongly in the analysis by gender and age group. For example, the world regions where life evaluations are significantly higher in the older age groups are also those regions where perceived social support, freedom and generosity (but not household incomes) are higher in the older age groups. All three of those variables have quite different levels and age group dynamics in different regions.
Chapter 4: Cost-benefit Analysis using Happiness as the Measure of Benefit
If the aim of policy is to increase happiness, policy makers will have to evaluate their options in a quite new way. This is the subject of Chapter 4. The benefits of a new policy should now be measured in terms of the impact of the change upon the happiness of the population. This can be achieved in a fully decentralized way by establishing a critical level of extra happiness which a project must yield per dollar of expenditure.
This new form of cost-benefit analysis avoids many of the serious problems with existing methods, where money is the measure of benefit. It uses evidence to allow for the obvious fact that an extra dollar brings more happiness to the poor than to the rich. It also includes the effects of all the other factors beyond income, so it can be applied to a much wider range of policies.
Chapter 5: The Neuroscience of Happiness
Chapter 5 highlights four supports for well-being and their underlying neural bases: 1) sustained positive emotion; 2) recovery of negative emotion; 3) empathy, altruism and prosocial behavior; and 4) mind-wandering, mindfulness and “affective stickiness” or emotion- captured attention.
There are two overall lessons that can be taken from the neuroscientific evidence. The first is the identification of the four highlighted elements, since they are not commonly emphasized in well-being research. The second is that the circuits we identify as underlying these four supports for well-being all exhibit plasticity, and therefore can be transformed through experience and training. There are now training programs being developed to cultivate mindfulness, kindness, and generosity. The chapter reviews evidence showing that some of these training regimes, even those as short as two weeks, can induce measurable brain changes. These findings highlight the view that happiness and well-being are best regarded as skills that can be enhanced through training.
Chapter 6: Healthy Young Minds: Transforming the Mental Health of Children
Chapter 6 turns the focus of attention to the world’s future, as embodied in the one-third of the current global population who are now under 18 years of age. It is vital to determine which aspects of child development are most important in determining whether a child becomes a happy, well-functioning adult. Studies that follow children from birth into adulthood show that of the three key features of child development (academic, behavioral, or emotional), emotional development is the best of the three predictors, and academic achievement the worst.
This should not be surprising, since mental health is a key determinant of adult life satisfaction, and half of mentally ill adults already showed the symptoms by the age of 15. Altogether 200 million children worldwide are suffering from diagnosable mental health problems requiring treatment. Yet even in the richest countries only a quarter are in treatment. Giving more priority to the well-being of children is one of the most obvious and cost-effective ways to invest in future world happiness.
Chapter 7: Human Values, Civil Economy and Subjective Well-Being
Chapter 7 presents the history, evidence, and policy implications of the Italian Civil Economy paradigm. The approach attempts to keep alive the tradition of civil life based on friendship (Aristotle’s notion of philia), and a more socialized idea of person and community. It is contrasted with other economic approaches that give a less central role to reciprocity and benevolence.
The empirical work in Chapter 7 echoes that presented in Chapters 2 and 8 in emphasizing the importance of positive social relations (as characterized by trust, benevolence and shared social identities) in motivating behavior, both contributing positively to economic outcomes as well as delivering happiness directly.
The authors recommend changes to democratic mechanisms that incorporate these human capacities for pro-social actions.
Chapter 8: Investing in Social Capital
Well-being depends heavily on the pro-social behavior of members of the society. Pro-sociality involves individuals making decisions for the common good that may conflict with short-run egoistic incentives. Economic and social life is rife with “social dilemmas,” in which the common good and individual incentives may conflict. In such cases, pro-social behavior – including honesty, benevolence, cooperation, and trustworthiness – is key to achieving the best outcome for society.
Societies with a high level of social capital – meaning generalized trust, good governance, and mutual support by individuals within the society – are conducive to pro-social behavior. High social capital directly and indirectly raises well-being, by promoting social support systems, generosity and voluntarism, honesty in public administration, and by reducing the costs of doing business. The pressing policy question is therefore how societies with low social capital, riven by distrust and dishonesty, can invest in social capital. The chapter discusses various pathways to higher social capital, including education, moral instruction, professional codes of conduct, public opprobrium towards violators of the public trust, and public policies to narrow inequalities in the various supports for well-being, income, health and social connections. This is important because social and economic equality is associated with higher levels of social capital and generalized trust.
The Common Threads are Social
There is a common social theme that emerges consistently from the World Happiness Report 2015. At both the individual and national levels, all measures of well-being, including emotions and life evaluations, are strongly influenced by the quality of the surrounding social norms and institutions. These include family and friendships at the individual level, the presence of trust and empathy at the neighborhood and community levels, and power and quality of the over- arching social norms that determine the quality of life within and among nations and generations. When these social factors are well-rooted and readily available, communities and nations are more resilient, and even natural disasters can add strength to the community as it comes together in response.
The challenge is to ensure that policies are designed and delivered in ways that enrich the social fabric, and teach the pleasure and power of empathy to current and future generations. Under the pressures of putting right what is obviously wrong, there is often too little attention paid to building the vital social fabric. Paying greater attention to the levels and sources of subjective well-being has helped us to reach these conclusions, and to recommend making and keeping happiness as a central focus for research and practice.
World Happiness Report 2015
The 2015 World Happiness Report and supplemental files are available for download for free below.
|World Happiness Report 2015||7.52 MB||Download|
|Annex 1||193.99 kB||Download|
|Frequently Asked Questions||220.97 kB||Download|
|WHR 2015 Chapter 1 (Spanish)||439.43 kB||Download|
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