Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 July 2014

 

We’re going to hear the President’s State of the Nation Address on Monday, and every Juan, Maria and Jose are gearing to give their two cents’ worth of opinion on every single thing he will say. Which is good. Everyone is involved.

But P-Noy and his administration have given us all the ammunition we need to make an informed (as opposed to the chismis type) judgment on everything he has promised to do. We just have to look at StatDev13, in the NSCB (National Statistical Coordination Board) website.

Remember his “Social Contract with the Filipino People” that sprang from his campaign promises? Well, that Social Contract became the basis of the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016.

The country has had several medium-term development plans. But what’s new with P-Noy’s PDP is that it was accompanied by a 98-page Results Matrices (RMs), which make easier the assessment of the government’s performance. It contains, for each chapter/sector of the PDP, the outcomes desired, which of the 16-point Social Contract items are being addressed, the indicators/units used for each outcome, the baseline values of these indicators/units. Plus, the Implementing Agencies (IAs) or Oversight Agencies (OAs) that will be held responsible for these outcomes. This is what is called a “whole of government managing for results” approach.

They mean business. The level of specificity of the targets goes into details, like the target increase in eggplant production (that’s why there’s 98 pages), which make the Reader cross-eyed. But the point is, the administration is willing to put its money where its mouth is as far as transparency and accountability are concerned.

What’s more, the Reader doesn’t have to go to the different agencies to find out what their performance was. It is all put together for us by another government agency, the NSCB, which publishes the StatDev in its website (www.nscb.gov.ph). Not only does StatDev 13 (the “13” stands for 2013) present the targets and their latest actual accomplishments, it also tells us at a glance (red frowny face, green smiley face and yellow deadpan face) what the probabilities are of achieving the target. The technical details are provided elsewhere as to how these probabilities are computed.

How’s that for transparency?

What does this year’s StatDev 2013 tell us? (They have a press release.)  That it contains 256 indicators covering the nine PDP sectoral chapters. But only 155 indicators have updated (2013) data. Where there are first-quarter 2014 data, StatDev presents that also.

But more importantly, it tells us that across the 155 indicators for which it has data, 45.2 percent of those indicators exhibited good probabilities of achieving the target; 17.4 percent posted average probabilities (meaning, it could go either way); and the remaining 37.4 percent had low probabilities.

How’s that for honesty? They just tell it like it is.

Not only that. StatDev gives a summary that tells us exactly where the government has performed “good,” “average,” or “poor,” depending on whether the targets will be reached or not.

For example, in the macroeconomy, six of the nine indicators for which we have up to 2013 data show a good performance, and three show poor performance (you will have to go to the actual tables to find out which indicators these are).

The real eye-opener, though, in terms of incontrovertible evidence that the government hasn’t done very well, according to government data, is in the Competitive and Sustainable Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors: Of the 27 indicators under this, only two show good performance. Thirteen show poor performance, and 12 show average performance. With 30 percent of our employed labor force in agriculture, and 68 percent of our poor families in the rural areas, is it any wonder why inclusive growth has eluded us?

There is another eye-opener: in the Good Governance and the Rule of Law sector. Of the 28 indicators, 15 show poor performance, four show average, and nine show good performance. Well, obviously again, the government needs to redouble its efforts in this sector.

Then there’s the Conservation, Protection, and Rehabilitation of Environment and Natural Resources: 14 indicators with good performance and 13 with bad performance out of the 27. More efforts are also needed here.

The other sectors show more indicators with good performance than poor and average.  Competitive Industry and Services have a 7-2-1 count (seven good, two average and one poor); Social Development has a 12-1-2; Accelerating Infrastructure Development has a 17-8-10 count.

And all this, just from a Summary Table at the beginning of the presentation. These are government data. And these tell all of us where we are with respect to P-Noy’s promises and his Social Contract. I invite everyone to read it so that our discussions will be informed, and not based on what others want us to hear.

I also invite P-Noy to read it. I hope he reads it, so he can tell us during the Sona what he intends to do to beef up agriculture and fisheries, and governance and rule of law. Of course, he can make “yabang” also about the accomplishments. He cannot plead ignorance of these data because in the press release, there is a Note to Users saying: “Prior to its release, and as a matter of procedure, the PSA provides a copy to Neda and the President, through the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), to be used as relevant inputs in the … Sona of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Will he or won’t he?