Filipinos Score Low On Financial Literacy


The Filipino Times
April 22, 2015

DUBAI: The financial literacy levels across the Asia Pacific region, which includes the Philippines, is decreasing with only few countries as exception, according to a latest research by MasterCard.

Besides Philippines, other markets that scored low on financial literacy included Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand and Singapore, Gulf News quoted MasterCard’s Financial Literacy Index as pointing out.

The index measures the progress of financial literacy in 16 countries, including India, Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, Korea and Myanmar among others.

India, as well as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan are the only markets to improve their financial literacy scores in 2014, and 2013, the report said.

Overall, people from Taiwan are the most financially literate, followed by New Zealand and Hong Kong. Singapore’s financial literacy dropped from the second to sixth place, while Japan remains at the lowest rung, it added.

Meanwhile, Filipinos occupied the 8th spot, while Indonesians were ranked 14th and Bangladeshis 15th, it was pointed out.

These countries, where a large proportion of expatriates in the UAE come from, are considered a region of savers. While majority of these consumers finance prudently, and save regularly, many are not very sound with other financial concepts, including retirement funds, the risks associated with investment, inflation and asset diversification, Gulf News reported.

“In both developed and emerging markets, people are struggling to understand the basic financial concepts such as inflation. In addition, while Asia Pacific is a region of savers, lack of retirement plans can have particular concern,” T.V. Seshadri, MasterCard group executive, global products and solutions, Asia Pacific, reportedly said.

MasterCard’s study was conducted for the fourth time between July and August 2014. The findings were released only last week.


The Filipino Times
April 22, 2015


CSC Highlights Women’s Role in Governance


by Criselda David
Philippine News Correspondent
Bayanihan News
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QUEZON CITY, Philippines – As it joins the Women’s Month celebration this March, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) recognizes the role of women in governance and nation-building.

Women make up the majority of the bureaucracy and as such, they play a significant part in the implementation of government programs as well as in policy and decision making. The CSC said it is only fitting to ensure the welfare and raise the morale of female workers so they can continue to be productive members of the bureaucracy.

In the 2010 Inventory of Government Personnel, there are 827,157 female government employees, representing 58.7% of the workforce.

However, according to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), women’s participation in decision-making can still be improved as males continue to outnumber females in various top leadership posts in government.

The CSC called on government agencies to observe gender and development (GAD) laws and policies, especially those that advance women’s welfare.

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, the CSC issued Memorandum Circular No. 25, s. 2010 specifying guidelines on the availment of special leave benefits for women who have undergone surgery caused by gynecological disorders.

The policy says that female government workers, regardless of age and civil status, are entitled to up to two (2) months special leave with full pay following surgery caused by gynecological disorders. The employee should have rendered six (6) months of continuous aggregate service for the last 12 months prior to surgery.

In 2005, the CSC also issued Resolution No. 05-1206 or the Guidelines on the Availment of the 10-day leave under Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004). The policy entitles any female employee in the government service who is a victim of violence, or any woman employee whose child is a victim of violence, to a paid leave of absence not exceeding ten days.

March is National Women’s Month and the theme for this year is “Juana, Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa, Ikaw Na!” which aims to celebrate and emphasize women’s roles in leadership, power, and decision-making.


by Criselda David
Philippine News Correspondent
Bayanihan News
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International Women's Day: Where are women now?


Fritzie Rodriguez

Do Filipino women and men have a fair playing field in terms of power, labor, and governance?

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MANILA, Philippines – As the country observes Women's Day on Sunday, March 8, how do Filipinos recognize women in power and power in women?

This year, the Philippines highlights the full participation of women in policy-making and their role in society and development. The Philippine Commission on Women hopes to spread this message through the theme, “Juana, desisyon mo ay mahalaga sa kinabukasan ng bawa't isa. Ikaw na!" (Juana, your decision is important for everyone. You are the one!)

The Philippines has seen much progress in promoting gender equality over the years, but official statistics reveal otherwise.

Traditional gender roles still triumph over certain aspects of life, as reflected in participation gaps in labor and governance.

As of 2014, the Philippines has failed 4 out of the 7 indicators for "promoting gender equality and empowering women," one of the Millennium Development Goals set to be achieved by the end of the year.

Women have been the country’s 5th poorest basic sector in the past 6 years, with a virtually unchanging poverty incidence. As of 2012, Women in ARMM had the highest level at 55%, and NCR the lowest at 4.1%. (READ: Why many of the hungry are women)

Poverty incidence among Filipino women as a basic sector
2006 2012
25.9% 25.6%

(Source: National Statistical Coordination Board)

"In the Philippines, women’s labor market participation is lower than men’s due to inadequate employment and decent work opportunities, domestic labor and care constraints, and social norms," the International Labor Organization (ILO) assessed in 2013.

Labor force participation rate
Women Men
49.8% 78.1%

 (Source: Philippine Statistics Authority)

The ILO also found that women in the Philippines have lower labor participation compared to women in Cambodia and Kazakhstan.

Women's labor force participation rate

Since "gendered social norms" box women in domestic roles, they tend to spend more time on "unpaid work" like household and care tasks, hence constraining their participation in paid work.

In 2011, 31% of working-age Filipino women were not in the labor force due to family duties, ILO found. Only 3% of men experienced the same.

The country's gender daily wage gap is only 3%, at women’s advantage. However, this does not consider the "substantial gender differences" in certain careers, which could widen the gap to 30%.

As the country's population swells, the demand for women's unpaid labor may also rise.

Women, where art thou?

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Although more and more women are penetrating fields traditionally dominated by men, they are still underrepresented in areas like law, information technology, engineering, agriculture, and architecture, according to ILO.

"Sex segregation by level and type of training limits women’s opportunities for employment in more technical fields," it added.

One of the many Filipinos breaking such gender stereotypes is Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo. On Friday, March 6, Robredo recalled how she finished law school while also being a mother to small children.

"I promised myself that my family will come first. I work while my kids are at school, but when they're home, I should be at home too," she shared during the 7th GoNegosyo Women Entrepreneurs Summit.

She brings her kids to school, accompanies them to swim training, and tutors them. "It's easier to balance in the province. You don’t have traffic, everything is very near," she added. "At hati kami ng husband ko sa lahat." (And my husband and I split all tasks.)

Not all women, however, share Robredo's fate.

Some women are unable to study, have limited resources and work options, have no support systems, and some cannot afford to spend enough time with their children.

As of 2013, majority – or over 5,000 – of employed Filipino women are "laborers and unskilled workers," theDepartment of Labor and Employment reported.

They earn an average of P159/day, the lowest among all sectors.

Lowest average daily basic pay of women in different occupation groups
Laborers, unskilled (i.e., domestic helpers, cleaners, manufacturing) P159.18
Farmers, forestry workers, fishers P200.08
Service workers, shop and market sales P219.86
Trades and related workers P244.59

Women with the highest daily pay were government officials and corporate executives at P845, followed by working professionals at P740.

Meanwhile, women farmers and fishers spend most of the day out in the field or the sea, and upon arriving home, they must face household chores. This leaves them less time for other family activities.

Some jobs also require women to be away from their families, as in the case of live-in employees like househelpers.

"Gender stereotyping in our culture is still very strong," Robredo stressed. "Obligation to care for children, homes is given to women. If they somehow lack in that area, they're judged."

"As legislators, we try to close the gender gap by passing laws that can empower women and allow them to handle both family and work," she added, advising workplaces to set up daycare centers for working mothers. (READ: PH laws unfair to women)

"Alam mo naman sa Pilipinas, laging bida mga lalaki," Senator Cynthia Villar quipped. "It’s a culture. Ang nangyari tuloy, women have to work harder." (You know in the Philippines, men are always the "star." It's a culture. So what happens is women have to work harder.)

Women in power

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In the Philippines, men dominate both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

At present, only 6 out of the 24 senatorial seats are occupied by women, while there are only 79 women out of the 289 representatives in the House.

The 2013 elections showed that women occupied a rather small percentage of local government posts:

Women as governors 23%
Women as municipal mayors 21%

(Source: Philippine Commission on Women)

All these, however, are just numbers that the public can still change in the coming years, advocates say. What is more important is to push more legislators, women and men alike, to uphold gender rights.

Gender equality is not a fight between women and men, but a goal to be championed by both parties.

On the upside, several Filipino women over the years have been appointed as CEOs, chief justice, ombudsman, cabinet secretaries, among other "poweful" positions. Women in key foreign relations posts also increased from 28% in 2002, to 35% in 2010.

Many other women are doing just as much, oftentimes, in silence. They are everywhere, they are faceless, they are nameless. They are not in power, but they are working hard, and they are waiting for the rest of the country to recognize the power in them. –



Fritzie Rodriguez



Keynote Address: In Pursuit of Peace, Truth and Justice… - Speech of Sec. Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Editorial Speech featured in the March 2015 issue of the "Kababaihan at Kapayapaan"

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:  In pursuit of peace, truth and justice…  
At the Bangsamoro Peace Forum, held at ISO, Ateneo de Manila University 
By Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process 
26 February 2015 

Good afternoon.  

A  month ago yesterday, all hell broke loose at Mamasapano in Maguindanao  and, with it, the hopes we were nurturing for the timely  passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that would conclusively shift the MILF struggle from armed to electoral, from violent to peaceful.  Or so it seems. 

Are we now consigned to picking up the bits and pieces of a Humpty Dumpty of a BBL; or are we tasked to do something else?  I think you and I are on the same page when you call this afternoon’s activity a forum on the Bangsamoro - in pursuit of peace, truth and justice.  For the forcible deconstruction triggered by Mamasapano compels us to a reconstruction, a recovery, a rethinking that must go deep and far and wide if we are to do justice to truth and the pursuit of peace. 

Amidst the din and frenzy, the death and despair, the grieving and recriminations, we must go deep into a space within ourselves—as individuals, as communities, and as a people, and face up to certain hard questions.  We may not have all the answers, but, as the poet Rilke says, sometimes the questions are more important than the answers.  

I propose three questions: 

First, what happened at Mamasapano and how do we make sense of it? 
Second, how has the fall-out from Mamasapano impacted on the GPH-MILF peace process and what are our stakes in it? 
Third, given the saber-rattling and name callng, what is to be done? 

As we tackle these questions, may I further propose two guideposts?

• Embrace history as our guide.

• Avoid dualism.

First - What happened at Mamasapano and how do we make sense of it? 

By now we have a clearer picture of what happened during that longest dawn and day and night at Mamasapano.  We have the cold statistic of 67 deaths, not just 44, of police commandos and Muslim combatants and civilians including an 8-year old child.  Several bodies are probing the why and the wherefore—why things went terribly wrong, and who is or are called to account. 

The details, and the accountabilities, I leave to the investigating bodies.  My concern here is the question: how do we make sense of it?  And here we must take the long view, a deep breath, and reach far back into our common history to begin to make sense of the carnage at Mamasapano.  

The Statement from Mindanao, issued 15 days ago by religious leaders led by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of the Archdiocese of Cotabato and joined by Jesuit presidents of Ateneo univesities in Mindanao, rightly says that no one has a monopoly on guilt, or on righteousness.  The statement reminds us that for 300 years, a proud Moro people stood up to Spain, the United States, and a succession of Philippine governments, colonial and republican, to defend their sovereignty and claim their homeland.  They paid the price in blood – the massacres of Bud Dajo, Bud Bagsak, and Jabidah.  In the end they, and the lumads, the indigenous peoples, are pushed to the margins by the guns of Pax Americana, the waves of migration from the north and central islands, and the shrewdness of a Torrens title.  

The past 45 years of intermittent warfare in Mindanao have claimed the lives of at least 150,000 combatants and civilians. This has led to the ―mutual insight‖ that guns, violence and wars only fuel the need for more guns, violence and wars in a macabre death dance with no end in sight but the end.  It has been said that peace is the only way to peace.  Proof of this is that, in the past three years, the ceasefire between the government and the MILF has held without a single skirmish – and this is by the accounting not of OPAPP and the negotiating panel but of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  

The bloodbath at Mamasapano does not debunk the imperative of peace.  On the contrary, Mamasapano tells us – and may I paraphrase the poet E.E. Cummings here – that, of peace, we must be more careful than of anything else.  It is a beacon but it is also a fragile flower.  It lives in the hearts of men and women but, stunted, it can also turn toxic. 

We must make sense of Mamasapano by learning the lessons of history; and by keeping our ears close to the ground.  War’s alarms ring in the halls of Congress and in social media but not in the blood-drenched fields of Maguindanao where people, and children most of all, pay the price of the conflict. 

Second - How has the fall-out from Mamasapano impacted on the GPH-MILF peace process and what are our stakes in it? 

It has been said that the BBL is as much a casualty of Mamasapano as the fallen 67.  True, two legislators have withdrawn sponsorship of the BBL bill. True, the MILF is being faulted for, demonized even, for breaking the peace. And our peace negotiators, myself included, have been criticized for speaking in behalf of MILF. 

More specifically, some lawmakers have called for the resignation of GPH Panel Chair Miriam Ferrer, GPH-CCCH Chair Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez, and myself.  These legislators have charged us with being spokespersons, even lawyering for, MILF.  They have called the BBL a ―sell-out‖ for being one-sided and favoring MILF. 

But what is the truth?  The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro or CAB, precursor to the BBL, was painstakingly crafted over three years of hard negotiations with the MILF, and the fact that, more than once, negotiations nearly broke down is a testament to the integrity of the process.  The four annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro or FAB, signed by the parties in September, 2012, took 16 months to complete, 13 months beyond the timetable projected in the FAB, precisely because negotiating positions were so difficult to bridge.   

On the side of government, the most contentious issues were first threshed out with the concerned national agencies in discussions which sometimes seemed as difficult as the negotiations with the MILF.  After each negotiation round in Kuala Lumpur, the GPH panel and myself, briefed the designated peace observers from the House of Representatives, as well as key members of the Senate peace committee, on the progress of the talks.  In the last rounds of talks in KL, our peace observers from Congress even accompanied the GPH Panel to Kuala Lumpur so that they could personally witness the rigor and difficulty of the peace negotiations.  No one told us then that we were betraying the interests of the republic.   

The CAB, and later the BBL, has been subject to consultations and forums particularly in but not limited to Mindanao.  The private sector and big business, academe, religious leaders and officials both Christian and Muslim, civil society organizations have weighed in on the peace process and the agreements they have produced.  All signed documents were immediately posted online, widely covered by media, with infographics reprinted in major broadsheets.  But the truth is also that few of those who are talking loudly today took much interest in all these then.  

They say that peace is not an easy path, sometimes it’s like walking a tightrope.  But there is no alternative to peace.  War cannot end war.   Religious officials, civil society leaders, business persons, academicians have spoken out who live and work in Mindanao.  They know how destructive war is, and how fragile peace is.  That is why, to a person, they have issued calls for peace very early on when thick haze still hung over Mamasapano.  They called for a resumption of congressional hearings on the BBL. 

Some legislators and politicians wish to demonize the MILF.  But I can say, from working with the MILF in the past three years, that they have earned the trust and respect of GPH peace negotiators with a ceasefire that has held firm since the Al Barka incident in October, 2011.  The trust of the AFP has been won with successful joint operations against lawless elements and to rescue kidnap victims, and some occasional PNP officials who wandered into hostile territory, in central Mindanao.  And most of all, they have won the trust and respect of the whole-of-government for choosing time and again to stay on the table through the stickiest negotiations, shifting from winner-take-all talking points to joint and mutual problem-solving to move the multiple tracks of the peace process forward – not just in pursuing the political settlement in the autonomous Bangsamoro , but also in the delivery of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro peace dividends, the crafting and adoption of the Bangsamoro Development Plan, and the groundwork for the phased and gradual decommissioning of MILF combatants in the context of the comprehensive Normalization Annex.   

To say so is not lawyering for them but speaking the truth in love, to borrow a line from scripture. 

I find it oddly strange that it is legislators and politicians who have not witnessed, or felt, firsthand the scourge and ravages of war in Mindanao who come charging at our peace structures with a wrecking ball.  What is it like to live your life forever on the run?  What is it like to lose your home, and your wits, because bombs come raining from the sky?  What is it like to force your adolescent daughter to work abroad because there is no decent work for bakwits or semi-permanent refugees?  What is it like to force your underage daughter to marry because there is no security of home for her?  What is it like to know that the little boy that you suckled at your breast will not grow up to learn reading and arithmetic and how to make a living from his talents and acquired skills?  What he will learn best is how to point the gun and pull the trigger and, at what is supposed to be the prime of his life, he will wake up on many mornings with the knowledge that that this is a day when he may kill or be killed.   

This is what war has meant in Mindanao – not for one, or two, or three, but for thousands, for tens of thousands, for hundreds of thousands, and during the episodes of all-out war, for half a million people, even a million, of its people: Muslim, Christian, lumad. 

That is why Mindanao people – children and bishops and ulamas and businessmen and women and teachers and NGO leaders – that is why their reaction to congressional freezing of BBL hearings is visceral, pained.  Because they know what the costs are, they know that war is infinitely costlier than peace. 

If speaking this truth labels me as lawyering for MILF, I do not mind.  Better that than to shut up because it is not popular, or sexy, to speak up at this time in defense of peace.  How oddly strange to be so viciously assailed for speaking up for peace.   

People in Mindanao are also pained by the resurgence of our old biases and dualistic thinking of us versus them, expressed in the view that the only good Moro is a dead Moro, or that Muslims can never be trusted.  We must unlearn this dualism so we can move beyond our superficial analyses to a more discerning view of the peace process and our stakes in it. 

Mamapasano has, indeed, set back the peace process but let us use this lull to clearly spell out the stakes, not only for Mindanaoans, but also for people from the north (Luzon) and the central islands (Visayas).  We cannot prosper as a nation with a house divided.  We cannot live the promise of life abundant while pockets of poverty and violence and squalor remain in Mindanao. 

Let us issue primers on peace, let us hold fora such as this, let us write letters to the editor, let us lobby our congresspersons, let us reach out over and over again to Filipinos who are different from and unfamiliar to us.  Let us keep the flame of peace burning, to keep BBL at the top of the agenda, and to honor our fallen 67. 

And, finally - what is to be done? 

There is a well-loved Protestant hymn that goes: ―Once to every man/woman and nation, comes the moment to decide …‖  In the end this is a moment of truth for every Filipino: Christian, Bangsamoro, or lumad.  The President, P.Noy, has put it this way: Am I for peace? Or am I for war? 

Shall we let our fears, insecurities, and falsehoods, rule us?  Can we afford to sit on the fence, let the wind blow where it will, and may the best or strongest side win?  

Let us not sell ourselves short.  Not for nothing did we fight Spain, again and again, for three and a half centuries – to strike out at injustice, for the call to freedom.  Not for nothing did we fight the Americans – at the cost of becoming a howling wilderness – to defend our sovereignty and freedom.  Not for nothing did we fight against the darkness of totalitarian rule, which triumph inspired the world with our people power revolution 29 years ago yesterday – to regain our freedom and once again light our way to a future of justice, democracy, and peace.   
I beg you, the young people here: as young Filipinos to whom the future rightly and irrevocably belongs, please do not sell yourselves short.  Insist on your say to how the future will take shape.  Insist that decisions that will determine your future not be made on the basis of emotions – or more accurately, emotionalism – not on the basis of allegations and surely not on the basis of prejudices and petrified perspectives that belong to the past and will not serve in your quest to manage and overcome the challenges of the future.  Please demand that, when the BBL is put to a vote in Congress, it will be the future of the children – Christian, Muslim, and lumad; equally for the child in Mamasapano as the child in Manila – that will take center stage and not the 2016 electoral prospects of politicians.     

Today we are called to stand beside, not against, our Muslim brothers and sisters in their quest for justice and selfhood within a house united, not divided. The most vociferous voices call for a stop to the BBL hearings, call for a revamp of the peace infrastructure in midstream.  Perhaps the most charitable thing to say is that they do not know whereof they speak. 

Let the blood shed at Mamasapano clear, and not blind, our vision in the quest for truth and justice.  Let the sturm und drang of these days be as a refiner's fire to purify words of their dross.  

And may the peacemakers be blessed. 

Good afternoon.


Aubrey Gail Mallari
Chief for Admin and Finance
Office of the Secretary
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Tel No.: (+63-2) 637-6083
Fax No.: (+63-2) 638-2216
Email Add: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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