Filipinos bare the life they want to have

Filipinos, for the life they want to have, would want to be educated in college and employed with a decent job, have a modest house, enough money and a car, and be able to travel with family and friends while owning some kind of a business.

This was the gist of revelations made during 42 focused group discussions conducted throughout the country involving some 10,000 Filipinos aged 15 to 50 years old, according to the National Economic and Development Authority's Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Dr. Rosemarie Edillion.

Edillion made the revelation during a recent round-table discussion at the Development Academy of the Philippines, during which the Council of Fellows of the government training and research institution initiated, in partnership with the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov), discussions on how to localize the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda defined by the United Nations.

Started in 2015

Edillion said that the focused group discussions started in mid-2015 after the NEDA chanced upon a study made by the Asian Development Bank entitled "Asia 2050," which said that for the next 20 to 30 years, it would be time for Asia to become the dominant world economy. The same study, however, saw the Philippines being lumped with Afghanistan and Myanmar near the bottom of the standings of the region's economies.

Edillion said that the NEDA has formulated a vision for the country that "by 2040, the Philippines shall be a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor," with the people enjoying long and healthy lives, are smart and innovative, and living in a high-trust society.

High-income by 2040

"With the right policies, the Philippines can be nearly a high-income country by 2040," Edillion declared. "This, of course, would require good fiscal policy, sound macro fundamentals, and a strategic fiscal spending program, including a tax and non-tax investment incentive program to address capacity constraints, increase competitiveness, encourage innovation, reduce inequality, and build up resiliency."

The NEDA's Deputy Director General said that the focused group discussions the agency has spearheaded all point towards that aspiration among typical Filipinos, with their motivations for every aspiration revolving around the family.

"What they want is a 'matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat,'" she said.

Not overly ambitious

Edillion said that Filipinos are not overly ambitious and would just want to be paid decent salaries to have money that is enough for everyday needs, with 88 percent of them wanting to work in the Philippines and only a miniscule portion that constitutes the hardcore still wanting to work abroad.

She said, however, that for Filipinos to live a comfortable life with family nowadays and for them to be free of hardship and worry, a gross monthly income of P120,000 would be needed broken down as follows: monthly car maintenance or amortization of P5,000, day-to-day sustenance of P40,000, amortization for a medium-sized house of P30,000, college education expenses of P10,000, income tax payment of P20,000, leisure expenses of P4,000, and occasional travel expenses of P6,000.

Also speaking besides Edillion during the round-table discussion was Dr. Philip Arnold TuaAo of the Ateneo's Department of Economics, who talked about the creation of an informal consortium of schools cooperating to make the youth aware of the country's sustainable development goals. Dr. TuaAo's group, the Young Public Servants, is doing roadshows throughout the country toward this end.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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