Category Archives: statistics

Voters’ Choices in SWS ‘Presidentiables’ Survey

1.   Given the following SWS surveys, I venture to deduce additional points for campaign strategists to tweak.

These two surveys may not be strictly comparable in terms of, among others, the questions asked, sample sizes, and different survey periods.  So it is understandable if you stop reading this because you feel that this exercise is ‘stretching’ the objectives of both surveys.

2.   Some technical notes from the two surveys are provided as follows:

a.       4-8 November 2009 Survey (referred to as Nov 09)

Error margin: +/- 3

Sample size: 1200

Question: Under the present Constitution, the term of Pres. Arroyo is up to 2010 only, and there will be an election for a new President in May 2010. Who do you think are good leaders who should succeed Pres. Arroyo as President? You may give up to three names.

Comment: Note that voters can only select one person for the position of President.  This survey allows for three, so there is room for a ‘voter’ (respondent) to make second and third choices.  Why? Perhaps to have an estimate of potential support for a candidate, short of a ‘vote’ but better than being classified as an undecided.

b.       5-10 December 2009 Survey (referred to as Dec 09)

Error margin: +/- 2.2

Sample size: 2100

Question: Among the names found on this list who will you probably vote for as President of the Philippines if the elections were held today?

Comment: This question allows the ‘voter’ (respondent) only one choice for the President.  It is also similar to the Pulse Asia question: Of the people on this list, whom would you vote for as the President of the Philippines if the elections of 2010 were held today and they were presidential candidates? I also understand that the SWS will be using the above question for its ‘Presidentiable’ surveys until May 2010.

3.   From the press releases from the SWS website,, I bring the results together, even if seemingly incomparable, and these are shown in the following analysis table.



Nov 09 (2) Dec 09




% Share of 2nd & 3rd choices to total Nov 09


Aquino 59 46 13 22
Villar 45 27 18 40
Estrada 18 16 2 11
Teodoro 8 5 3 38
Gordon 1 1

4.  Some points (conjectures) from the analysis table:

°         Column 2 can represent the maximum votes of a presidentiable as of November 2009.

°         Column 3 can represent the first choice votes as of December 2009.

°         Column 4 can represent the 2nd or 3rd choice votes as of December 2009.

  • Candidate Villar might have the biggest number and percentage of 2nd or 3rd choice votes.  If he can turn these into 1st choice votes, he levels up with Candidate Aquino, assuming the latter does not convert any of his to 1st choice votes.
  • Candidate Estrada might be close to hitting his maximum potential votes.  Candidate Villar might consider winning over Candidate Estrada to his side to have a good chance of catching up and/or overtaking Candidate Aquino.
  • Candidate Aquino might have the next highest number of 2nd or 3rd choice votes.  If he can get 51% of the votes, more than half, he is unreachable as he would have the majority.
  • Candidates Teodoro and Gordon might still be far from posing a threat to the front runners.

5.  It would be worth reading this note with my previous note on ‘Preferences for Presidentiables’, even if this is based on the surveys of Pulse Asia.

I admit though that these observations are all based on surveys conducted by SWS and Pulse Asia and from no other information.



Filed under election, Philippines, statistics

Preferences for 2010 Presidentiables from Pulse Asia Surveys

Voters’ Choices for President

August to December 2009 Surveys

  Aug 09 Oct 09 Aug-Oct Dec 09 Oct-Dec
Aquino 44 +44 45 +1
Villar 25 19 -6 23 +4
Estrada 19 11 -8 19 +8
Teodoro 0.2 2 +1.8 5 +3
De Castro 16 4 -12
Escudero 12 13 +1



Pulse Asia has an interesting table on reasons for presidential preference.  The respondent is asked  ‘Bakit po ninyo iboboto si _____ bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas?’ The findings from the following table may be referenced with the above summary.



Reasons for preference May 09 Aug 09 Oct 09 Dec 09 PossibleLink*
1. Tumutulong, matulungin sa ofw/ibang sector [AID/ASSISTANCE] 6.6 11.8 12 11 Villar
2. May nagawa, maraming nagawa [ACCOMPLISHMENTS] 11.6 25.3 14 11 Villar, Estrada
2a. Magaling/maganda ang palakad, [GOVERNANCE/EXPERIENCE]   4   8 Villar, Estrada
3. Hindi corrupt, walang kurakot, malinis [NOT CORRUPT] 7.1 6.3 21.2 21 Aquino
4. Mabait, mabuti, reputasyon ng pamilya [GOOD MAN/FAMILY] 5.6 3.7 4.2 12 Aquino
5. Makamasa, pagtingin sa mahirap, galling sa hirap [PRO-POOR] 27.3 20.3 12.2 27 Estrada, Villar

* Conjectural

The leap of Aquino to 1st place in October and remaining as 1st in December could be attributed to #3 and #4.


The improvement of Estrada in December could be attributed to #5, possibly #2 and #2a .


Likewise, Villar gained in December due to #5, possibly #2 and #2a.


The same could be observed in August.

The TV infomercials of Villar and Estrada play up these points.

Probably some respondents also perceive Aquino as having traits #2, 2a and 5.  This has to be developed further even as he appears to have sole claim to traits #3 and 4.

It may also be well to consider the important points for 2010 summed up by public opinion polls, as summarized by Mahar Managhas of SWS.  For instance, the campaign strategy of Teodoro to prop up the administration’s accomplishments will be heavily weighed down by these observations.

Public opinion relevant to 2010

By Mahar Mangahas
Philippine Daily Inquirer

1. Unpopularity of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It is an outstanding fact that most Filipinos have been dissatisfied with the president’s performance throughout the past five years. In contrast, during the 2004 election campaign, the public’s regard for Arroyo was either moderate or neutral.

President Arroyo wasn’t alone as an increasingly unpopular leader. The ratings of US President George W. Bush over 2001-08 collapsed as much. Common sense says that it will be just as hard for Arroyo’s candidate to win in 2010 as it was for Bush’s candidate to win in 2008. The main task of her candidate will be to convince the public that he/she will be very different.

Another outstanding fact is that Filipinos will definitely reject any constitutional amendment allowing Arroyo to stay as the country’s chief executive, when put to a referendum. The SWS survey percentage intending to vote NO to Cha-cha was 64 in October 2008, and rose to 66 in February 2009, and then to 70 in June 2009.

… There is a strong clamor for change by the Filipino people.

2. Serious problems of hunger and corruption. The highly alarming economic trend shown by the SWS surveys is that hunger quadrupled in the last six years—from 5 percent in 2003 to 20 percent in June 2009.

The two areas of highest public dissatisfaction with the performance of the national administration are in addressing hunger and corruption, both at -21 in our latest survey (SWS media release August 10, 2009).

… Corruption has never been this bad. We must end it.

3. Public satisfaction with the working of democracy needs to recover. “Satisfaction with the way democracy works” is a world-standard survey item, originating in Eurobarometer, and now used by Latinobarometro, Asian Barometer, and other regional barometers. I had to report that, according to the 2005/06 Asian Barometer, the percentage satisfied with the working of democracy was only 38 in the Philippines, compared to 59 in Indonesia, 66 in Malaysia, 79 in Thailand, and 83 in Singapore.

SWS has tracked this indicator since 1991, and found it obviously related to public satisfaction with elections. It had outstanding peaks of 70 percent satisfaction in October 1992 and July 1998, in the first surveys taken after the presidential elections of those years showed that transition of power was done successfully.

Unfortunately, in non-election years the satisfaction rate slumped to the 30s and 40s. The fact that it did not budge in mid-2004 (44 percent in June 2004) showed public disappointment in the just-concluded presidential election. Its recovery to 54 in 2007, after the opposition won the senatorial election, was a good sign, but its latest figure is only 43. Can the Philippines achieve 70 percent again after the May 2010 election?

…The 2010 elections will be pivotal in redirecting our country from its current path of worsening poverty and social decay.

4. Expectations and experiences of voting irregularities. The percentage expecting vote-buying before an election was 57 in April 1992, dropped in April 2001 and April 2004, but then surged to 69 in February 2007. The percentages expecting vote count-cheating, flying voters, and voter-harassment likewise dropped from 1992 to 2004, but rose in early 2007. These are worrisome numbers.

On the other hand, the personal witnessing of voting irregularities after an election has been going down over time. The percentage who said they witnessed vote-buying was 17 in June 1998, 23 in July 2001, and 19 in June 2004, but it fell to 13 in June 2007. The percentage who saw cheating in the vote-count was five in 1998, but only two in 2007. The percentages who witnessed flying voters and voter-harassment were also lower after the 2007 election than after the 1998 election. I hope these figures do not merely mean that such irregularities are being better hidden over time.

Campaign strategists, take note.


Filed under election, Philippines, statistics

GMA employment record: Good, bad and ugly

[This was published in The Philippine Daily Inquirer and first posted on their website on 04:08:00 07/24/2009]

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has not been remiss in pointing to employment as one of the main welfare issues, along with poverty, health and education, in her State of the Nation Addresses (SONAs) since 2001.

However, the Arroyo administration’s scorecard in employment has been mixed—with a few “good” grades, some “bad” ones and some “ugly” marks.

The target of one million additional jobs has been met several times since 2006. The job increases in January (1.5 million) and April 2007 (1 million) could be due to the campaign activities for the general elections in May that year.

From July 2008 to April 2009 there was evidence from the Labor Force Survey that on average, an additional million jobs had also been created—1.3 million in July 2008, 800,000 in October 2008, 600,000 in January 2009 and 1.5 million in April 2009.

The Department of Labor and Employment attributes this increase to the government’s focus on employment generation and preservation as a crucial strategy aimed at helping people cope with the economic crunch.

Strong labor demand

The measures taken by the government to generate jobs include the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) that employs low-income and unemployed workers in various government projects.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reported that a total of 1,236,013 Filipinos were deployed for work abroad in 2008, which was 14.7 percent higher than the year before.

The potential effects of the continuing global economic slowdown on deployment have been mitigated by the strong labor demand in Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman.

The ‘bad’

The SONA 2008 featured the plight of several disadvantaged members of society.

“I worry about the poor housewife who is burdened with the responsibility of raising a family. I worry about the farmer who is on the frontline of producing food but struggles to feed his own family,” Ms Arroyo said.

“I care for hardworking students soon to graduate and wanting to see hope [in a] good job and a career prospect here at home. I worry about the 41-year-old household head who supports a wife and three children, but cannot work daily. He should be given additional income and honor,” she added.

However, the concerns of these sectors have become even more real since July 2008.

Job seekers have found work in the combined services sectors: trade, transport, private households and public administration. Trade means sari-sari stores, buy-and-sell, four-gives.

Padyak-cabs would be categorized under transport; namamasukan (domestic helpers) and naglalaba (laundry women) would be under private households. Public administration would refer to government programs CLEEP and Oyster (Out-of-School Youth Striving Toward Economic Recovery).


Agriculture employment has also increased but this has not reversed the shift of workers leaving the sector because of low pay, climate change, decreasing hectarage for farming and limited opportunities in rural areas.

Looking back over the past years, there has been no sustainable jobs added to industry.

The government programs have raised the number of paid workers, but a similar increase is seen in the number of unpaid family workers, which does not bear the quality of sustainability and sufficiency.

In the April 2009 Labor Force Survey, the additional 1.5 million jobs were net of the increase of 2.6 million workers who worked for less than 40 hours a week and of the decrease of about 1.1 million workers who worked for 40 hours or more.

The ‘ugly’

Government’s chosen investment and employment strategies, weighed down by poor governance and external market disturbances, have created structural problems that would take more than an administration’s term (of six years) to straighten out. These can be termed “uglies.”

Workers in agriculture have shifted to the service sectors. Clearly, there will be repercussions on food self-sufficiency, and shortages would be met by importation.

There are the formal services sectors (banks, insurance companies, real estate firms, telecom companies, bus firms, call centers and supermarkets) and the much-bigger informal sectors (as described above), which catch surplus labor and subject workers to long hours of work, exceeding 50 hours a week, and to lower pay.

These, coupled with the declining employment in industry, set us farther back from the administration’s dream of joining the ranks of developed countries in 2020. This declaration could have been made in Magic Kingdom.

Emergency mode

Investments and jobs in industry turn out products that use inputs from other sectors, like structural concrete needing cement and basic metal products, and that are used by other industries to make their own, like construction using structural concrete materials.

However, the Arroyo administration that has been operating in an emergency mode due to a lack of public trust and legitimacy for most of its term has not delivered on raising industrial output.

It remains to be seen whether all Ms Arroyo’s official trips abroad will indeed translate into more stable and productive jobs in the years to come.

It is not clear if the deployment of workers overseas is a development objective—economic, perhaps; social, iffy.

Key to better life

Remittances from overseas workers have indeed fueled the growth in personal and household consumption and, consequently, in the gross domestic product.

But does this outweigh negative consequences such as physically divided families, children growing up with single or absent parents, exploitative recruiters, and abusive households and enterprises?

It can be argued that this is a temporary strategy in the face of domestic and global economic uncertainty. But in the consciousness of many Filipinos, work abroad on a permanent basis is the key to a “better” life.

1M entering labor force

Last but not the least, planners should be aware that on average one million people have been entering the labor force in search of work since April 2008, much more than the historical 350,000 job seekers.

The target of one million jobs will no longer stimulate growth and elicit applause in a SONA, but may still serve as one of the yardsticks for accommodating the new entrants to the labor force.

Ms Arroyo should consider promising two million additional jobs in this coming SONA to make a meaningful change in our employment situation.

(Editor’s Note: Tomas “Butch” Africa is a former administrator of the National Statistics Office, principally responsible for the nationwide surveys and censuses conducted from 1989 to 2000. A retired director of the United Nations Statistical Institute of Asia and the Pacific, he is now working as the regional adviser for Asia of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He is currently the vice president of the Philippine Statistical Association.)

Leave a comment

Filed under GDP, labor force, overseas workers, Philippine development, Philippines, statistics

Most Common Family Planning Methods: Pills and Withdrawal

1. The contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) or the proportion of married women in the Philippines who are using any method of family planning, is 51 percent, according to the preliminary results of the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the National Statistics Office.

My up-to-date definition would be that CPR is the ratio of married women who have sex and have no intention of having a baby, whether with consent or not, with video or not, and with ecstasy before or after or none at all.

2. The current estimate of CPR and the estimates from the 1998 NDHS and 2003 NDHS imply increasing contraceptive use by married women over the last decade: 47 percent in 1998, 49 percent in 2003, and 51 percent in 2008 (Table 2).

These estimates are subject to sampling errors since these are based on sample surveys, hence, the observed differences are not always significant. The increase in the CPR over the last decade, from 1998 to 2008, is statistically significant. However, the observed increase from 2003 to 2008 is not significant (Table 1).

Note that the confidence intervals for 2003 [47.6 50.1] and 2008 [49.4 52.0] have overlaps; thus a significant difference, or increase, between the two CPRs cannot be established.

3. Thirty-four percent of married women rely on a modern method, mostly the pill (16 percent) and female sterilization (9 percent). The use of the pill has increased in the past 5 years, from 13 percent in 2003 to 16 percent in 2008 (Table 3).

4. Users of modern natural family planning methods comprise less than one percent. Modern natural family planning methods include cervical mucus method or ovulation method or Billings method, standard days method (SDM) and lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). Seventeen percent of married women used a traditional method in 2008 compared to 16 percent in 2003, with the increase coming from the withdrawal method.

5. Even with government policy or in the absence of it,
• Significant gain in use of pills has been observed.
• The use of natural family planning methods has not increased significantly.
• About half of married women (49 percent) are still not using any method.

Kalahati ng mga babaeng kasal ay walang kahit na anong pampigil sa panggigigil.

[Please pardon how the three tables are presented. I have not discovered how to present these properly, after numerous attempts.]

Table 1. Contraceptive prevalence rates (CPR), with standard errors and confidence intervals, Philippines: 1998, 2003, 2008
Year/ CPR/ Standard Error/ Lower*/Upper*
1998/ 46.5/ 0.7/ 45.2/ 47.9
2003/ 48.9/ 0.6/ 47.6/ 50.1
2008/ 50.7/ 0.6/ 49.4/ 52.0

* 95 % Confidence Interval Boundaries
Sources: 1998, 2003 and 2008 National Demographic and Health Surveys

Table 2. Percentage of currently married women age 15-49 using modern and traditional family planning methods, Philippines 1973-2008
Survey/ Modern/ Traditional/ All
1973 National Demographic Survey1/ 10.7/ 6.7/ 17.4
1978 Republic of the Philippines Fertility Survey1/ 17.2/ 21.3/ 38.5
1983 National Demographic Survey1/ 18.9/ 13.1/ 32
1988 National Demographic Survey/ 21.6/ 14.5/ 36.1
1993 National Demographic Survey/ 24.9/ 15.1/ 40
1998 National Demographic and Health Survey/ 28.2/ 18.3/ 46.5
2003 National Demographic and Health Survey/ 33.4/ 15.5/ 48.9
2008 National Demographic and Health Survey/ 34.0/ 16.7/ 50.7
1 Calculated for currently married women 15-44 years

Table 3. Percent distribution of currently married women by contraceptive method used, Philippines: 2003, 2008
Method/ 2003/ 2008
Any method/ 48.9/ 50.7
Any modern method/ 33.4/ 34.0
Female sterilization/ 10.5/ 9.2
Male sterilization/ 0.1/ *
Pill/ 13.2/ 15.7
IUD/ 4.1/ 3.7
Injectables/ 3.1/ 2.6
Male condom/ 1.9/ 2.3
Mucus/Billings/Ovulation/ 0.1/ 0.1
Standard days method/ -/ *
LAM/ 0.3/ 0.4
Other modern methods/ -/ *
Any traditional method/ 15.5/ 16.7
Calendar/rhythm/periodic abstinence/ 6.7/ 6.4
Withdrawal/ 8.2/ 9.8
Other traditional method/ 0.6/ 0.4
Not currently using/ 51.1/ 49.3
Total/ 100.0/ 100.0
“*” denotes figure in the cell is less than 0.05 percent

Leave a comment

Filed under contraceptive use, family planning, Philippine development, Philippines, statistics

Reminiscing a HS Ruby Anniversary Reunion

This was written more than three years ago for my batchmates at San Beda College High School Class 1966, also of Grade School Class 1962.  I thought of sharing this on the Net, although others may find it difficult to relate to most of the time. 


As the carroza bearing the Sto. Nino entered the gates of San Beda, I saw an alumnus belonging to a younger batch who was watching the procession, leaning against a parked car near Mendiola Bridge.  He nodded and I approached him as I stretched my weary legs.  He knew that it was the 40thanniversary celebration of class HS 1966 and surmised that a sizable number attended, as has been in the past, especially during our silver jubilee in 1991 which had signaled the renaissance of Redeamus et Reddamus.  But he said they were able to muster a bigger number, including those from abroad, during their jubilee.  I don’t recall the exact figure, but he might have said that it was over a hundred and fifty.  Tired and eager to wash up for the Bykes affair, I bade goodbye.


For me the reunion was coming to a close as I had to return to Japan to attend a meeting.  Is a reunion all about attendance?  The database showed that there were 111 attendees at the welcome dinner at the Manila Yacht Club, of which there were 90 of us and 21 were spouses/sons.  But it was more than the body count, if it indeed mattered.


There were some I last saw in November 1991, in March 1966, and in March 1962.  Some tops were gone and shiny, some bellies were bulging, and some legs were wobbly, but the persona and the aura that radiated in each attendee spanned time quickly from then to now at this place by the sea.  The classic time warp was manifested as if it was only yesterday when we last saw each other.


The handshakes were not enough, nor were handclasps.  Half-hugs and chest bumps (a la NBA) seemed to be the greeting in vogue.  In that moment of recognition and connection the years flew to now; there was nothing new.  Everyone had grown in age separately but altogether, no exceptions.  Everyone had his own ode to life, with the stanzas equally measured and the rhymes pleasant to the ears.  But the writer of life had put his pen down for these few days so that all these various odes can come together for the pause so that each life can move on again to its mission, reinvigorated.


Each presence was a victory, a celebration, and a tribute to the clarion call for Bedans of 1962 and 1966 to gather and recall those heady and rebellious days of anxiety, mischief, and discovery.  Each had come home to renew ties and realize that all the years of fermentation and metamorphosis were essential for them to recognize that they are simply kindred of mind and spirit, wherever they were the past four decades.  And yes, the bodies could not sustain the same level of frenetic activity of yesteryears as they closely bonded through the days.


The Lettermen concert could not have been better, just like wine aged and nurtured through the years.  As the familiar melodies filled the coliseum, the crowd in harmony lit the dome with past dreams and crushes.  Slow drags with ex-future and/or present wives were reminisced, holding her delicate hands, feeling her warm breath and racing pulse, bodies brushing daintily, and humming songs into each other ears.  The pride of Lions were in concert not only with the Lettermen but also with the past, their period of awakening to added dimensions of awareness other than the changes in physiology.


They also came to terms with their spirituality during the Ordo Missae cum Populo, their Latin Mass at the Abbey Chapel of Our Lady of Montserrat.  Yes, Abbot Ed said it was a time to renew relationships and strengthen camaraderie, but at the same time it must be an opportunity for personal and communal renewal in our covenant.  Gathered round the altar, where the monks usually pray and praise the Lord in Gregorian chant, they remembered the 25 who had gone ahead to the after life.  But it was a time for remembrance, and not a requiem Mass.


As Juliet said in Shakespeare’s play, “And, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.”


As the prayers in Latin were recited by all, the journey to faith and obedience during the days at school dawned on them.  Although now equipped with a missalette providing also the direct translation of the prayers into English, then many of them learned and memorized these, oblivious of what their true meaning were, except that the priests so required these beautiful passages of communion with the Lord and his community.  The beautiful chapel as always further added to the solemnity of the Eucharistic celebration.


The repast at the school cafeteria was more of the same past, – how everyone goes hurriedly to the canteen after the First Friday Mass right before recess.  But dignified men that they are now, they filed slowly to the place where they would partake of cafeteria fare.  Dear Father Benigno Benabarre at his nineties was his usual perky self, soliciting help for the alumni newsletter while at the same time reading his mental locator chart of his monk-contemporaries.  Mr. Leandrito Asuncion and Mr. Jose Mordeno related how they found a home in San Beda like us and how they have gone on to share and give back their talents to the next generations.  The school band came and the cheerleaders led the pep rally.  Chants of San Beda Go Go Go, The Red and the White, Polly Wolly Wanna, Zalabazzim bazzim baza, the Indian Yell, and Stand on the Grandstand reverberated through the cafeteria with snap and vigor.  The event climaxed with singing the Alma Mater hymn, the version prior to the Roco-Maramba version.  A walk-about of the campus with its new buildings and facilities could not mask the favorite spots of confrontation, like the incinerator where fists flew and eyes turned blue, and of celebration, like the grandstand where graduations gave them the license to go out to the world armed with prayer and work.  Ora et Labora.


Many displayed their grace and terpsichorean skills at the Bykes affair.  Music of the oldies and goodies genre was served along with fusion cuisine.  It did not matter that topnotch lawyers and entrepreneurs were dishing out the music as accomplished businessmen and retirees were dancing to rock and roll, rhythm and blues, soul of the 60s.  It was not simply 2006; it was the past in the present.


It was time to wrap-up for me as I had to fly back north to Japan.  I had gone through the chest bumps and half hugs, the memories lifted by song, the spirituality offered by prayer, the remembrance of my Alma Mater, and the rites of passage manifested through dance.  Each one has a cup of nostalgia to fill, mine was already full.  It was a complete experience.  


On the flight out of Manilato Narita, I flew with Butch Mendoza who was returning to Florida.  He learned of the reunion one day when he decided to Google search about class HS 1966.  He was led to the website, got the information and the plans, and timed his return to the Philippines to jibe with the reunion activities.  I asked him what might have led him to casually search for the class.  Probably he said, he was in tune to the same wavelength as most of us, even after 40 years.  Probably the energy and the vibrations reached those who searched for it.


The reunion team planned no less for each one of us to fill our cups, no matter how many or how few, and delivered, no more, no less.  Thank you very much, for my cup had runneth over.


Leave a comment

Filed under San Beda

Malacanang claims credit for population growth – On what basis?

I felt the need to check on Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s statements using official statistics.  I aim to show that the statements made by an administration mouthpiece are inaccurate.. .
  • From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 14 August 2008 issue, page A15:
Yesterday in Malacanang, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said it was ‘not farfetched’ that the government had been sufficiently effective in explaining the need to control population growth.  According to Ermita, Filipinos may have heeded Ms. Arroyo’s call for natural family planning methods [underscoring mine] and some may be using artificial methods, but all the same, these have contributed to the current population rate.
‘So it’s not necessarily a misrepresentation of facts,’ Ermita told reporters in response to the claim of a group of former government officials that Arroyo had fudged figures to show that her administration’s promotion of natural family planning had helped stem population growth [underscoring mine].
1.  Did her call/policy increase the use of natural family planning methods by currently married women, 15-44 years old?No, in fact from the data below, use of modern (read: artificial) family methods even increased, in the absence of government support. The administration has no right to claim credit for the slowdown in the population growth to about 2 percent in 2007 from 2.34 percent in 2000.


2.  Has she done what is necessary to promote her population policy?Assuming without granting that she is convinced of the use of natural family planning as most effective in attaining sustainable development and safeguarding child and maternal health, evidence shows that women still have more children than they desire, – an impact indicator of the effectiveness of her population policy and program.  GMA as head of state is apparently not doing enough and allocating sufficient resources to support her position and that of the administration on the issue.

[1] The increase in contraceptive use in the last five years was essentially due to the increase in use of modern methods < >, from 28 percent to 33 percent as the use of traditional methods < > actually declined from 18 percent to 16 percent. Most of the gain in modern contraceptive use was due to an increase in the use of the pill, from 10 percent to 13 percent. …
<Modern methods: sterilization, pill, IUD, injectable, male condom, mucus/billings/ ovulation, lactational amenorrhea method>
<Traditional methods: calendar/rhythm/ periodic abstinence, withdrawal>
[2] The 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey also shows that Filipino women still bear more children than they desire. If they could prevent births that they declare as ‘unwanted’, Filipino women would have, on average, 2.5 births, or exactly one birth less than the number they currently have (3.5 births).
Relevant Tables
Table 1.  Percentage of currently married women age 15-49 using modern and traditional family planning methods, Philippines 1968-2003
Survey Modern Traditional All
methods methods methods
1973 National Demographic Survey1 10.7 6.7 17.4
1978 Republic of the Philippines Fertility Survey1 17.2 21.3 38.5
1983 National Demographic Survey1 18.9 13.1 32
1988 National Demographic Survey 21.6 14.5 36.1
1993 National Demographic Survey 24.9 15.1 40
1998 National Demographic and Health Survey 28.2 18.3 46.5
2003 National Demographic and Health Survey 33.4 15.5 48.9
1 Calculated for currently married women 15-44 years
Table 5.  Total wanted fertility rate and total fertility rate for the three years preceding the survey, Philippines 1993-2003
Survey Year Total Wanted Total Fertility Rate
Fertility Rate
Births per Woman
1993 2.9 4.1
1998 2.7 3.7
2003 2.5 3.5

Leave a comment

Filed under contraceptive use, family planning, Philippines, population, statistics

Lose-Lose for the OFW? Various looks at his plight


I read today from the following post (as excerpted).


OFW remittances up 9.4% at $1.4B in March


Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through banks surged 9.4 percent to a new monthly record-high of $1.4 billion in March from a year earlier, as the Philippines deployed more workers and banks ramped up their remittance operations, the central bank reported Thursday.


In a statement, …Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, said the March inflows brought the total first-quarter remittances to $4 billion, up 13.2 percent from the same period last year.  In the first quarter, the Philippines deployed 263,129 workers abroad, up 13.6 percent from a the same period last year. Land-based workers increased 11.7 percent to 200,398 and sea-based workers rose 20.1 percent to 62,731.


In a separate report, global credit watchdog Moody’s estimated that the major Philippine banks offering remittance services—Allied Banking Corp., Banco de Oro Unibank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Philippine National Bank, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.—generate 8-17 percent of their operating income from this business. ..


Most of the remittances came from the US, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.


In Moody’s estimate, the direct amount of gross revenue generated by banks from remittances—mainly in delivery charges and the spread charged on foreign exchange rates—may have been between $185 million and $380 million in 2007.


1.  ’as the Philippines deployed more workers’


The government allows its working population to work abroad, but for it to be said that it deploys workers would be to grab undue credit.  Some,yes; but not enough, for it to get credit.   One, is this an explicit strategy in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan?  Two, the decision to work abroad is that of the worker’s; most of the job searches are their own too.


2.  ‘the major Philippine banks offering remittance services … generate 8-17 percent of their operating income from this business’…and…‘ the direct amount of gross revenues generated by banks from remittances…may have been $185 million and $380 million.’


Perhaps in return these banks can offer affordable loan packages (lower than market interest rates and supporting technical and financial advice) to OFWs to enable them to make good and solid investments for them post-OFW jobs.  Has the government moved in this strategic direction to uplift the plight of the OFWs whom it calls as heroes?  Or is this another sound bite from the buck-toothed?


 And relatedly, I read yesterday from the same site:


Peso at weakest level so far this year


The peso tumbled Wednesday to 42.855 to the dollar, its weakest level so far this year, as offshore investors dumped Asian currencies because of escalating jitters over surging global oil prices.


“Pressure from the record-high $127-a-barrel oil price is the culprit,” said stocks analyst …, managing director at ….


“Worrisome as well would be the effect of oil on other economies, which will affect overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) earnings and consequentially, remittances,” he added.


Foreign investments in Philippine stocks and bonds have thinned over the past few months, but the at least $1 billion come from OFWs via the banking system, apart from foreign exchange they send through non-bank channels.


3.  The OFW and his family should be happy with this news.  Now he can get more pesos for the currency, particularly the US dollar, he earns abroad.  But unfortunately inflation is up, as oil and rice prices have soared.  So the additional pesos he gets from the currency exchange is eaten up by inflation.   See following Table





Peso-$1 rate


in %











































Peso-dollar exchange rate – at end of month

Inflation – month on month change CPI all items Philippines


This behavior has been explained by a Bangko Sentral official.  Peso appreciation (less pesos per US$) tend to lower inflation.  Imported goods which are substantial and made even cheaper contribute to a lower inflation rate.


Moreover, from the news,


Central bank Deputy Gov. …, in a hearing at the House Committee on Economic Affairs, yesterday said inflation falls by 0.1 percentage point for every 5 percent appreciation of the peso against the US dollar.  The gross domestic product, meanwhile, grows 0.2 percentage point for the same rate of peso appreciation.  Citing data from the finance department, … said the fiscal performance improved by P1.4 billion for every peso appreciation against the dollar. A one-peso gain reduces government revenues by P2.7 billion and spending by P4.1 billion for a net of P1.4 billion.


4.  My take on this,…


And with every 5 percent appreciation of the peso, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) remittances get eroded by the same percent.  And if government estimates are correct, there are about 8 million overseas Filipinos (OFs) sending remittances.  With some 16 million households now, a high estimate of about half of these (8 million OFs over 16 million households) would be feeling the negative effects of this ‘appreciation’.


It might be true then that the OFWis a true hero, working for his family and country and yet at ‘sacrificial’ conditions far from satisfactory to him.  You have a parasitic triangle here: the OFW, his family, and his government.  The true connection is with his family; but a third party, the government, feeds off his remittances to among others, bring the peso up, hold inflation down, raise foreign exchange reserves, retire government debt, improve fiscal performance…  The government says that it needs the revenues for its spending on social services as well as on infrastructure.  So is it better that it is the government that decides on where to spend, rather than  the worker himself whose purchasing power has been diminished by an exchange rate policy that is inimical to his welfare?      In the end it is he and his family at the losing end, with the real value of his remittances eroded.


5.  But we should not get misled that the OFW phenomenon is purely an economic issue.  I would like to show you a framework drawn up by UP and Ateneo professors and scholars.who got together to propose a study for funding.  [To-date, no funds have been solicited to push on with the study.]






Social Consequences Range of Consequences
Positive Negative
Migrant-level Consequences Employment/Income                  Abuse/ Violence
·Higher Status ( Family/ Community)        Dislocation/Disorientation 
Empowerment/Added Skills/Changed Values                 Disease/Dementia/Detention/Death
Social Networks  
Family/Household Savings/Education/Housing Disorganization
Chain Migration  Dependency
Closer Ties/ Interdependence            Conspicuous Consumption
Changed Roles/Values      ( Leisure)  
·Social Mobility  
Local Community Redefinition of Power and Status Brain Drain
Migrant Remittances/Aid Changed Sex Ratio
“overseas migration villages”      emergence of migrant-related social classes 
Sending  Country  Remittances/Employment Brain Drain
Transfer of Skills  Social/Welfare Costs
Emergence of Overseas migration Industry Enhanced Social Class System
Policy Changes                             Multilayered System of Migrant Abuse
Administrative changes  
Changed Social Values  
Host County Labor Supply/Competitive Wages Welfare/social costs (crime/insurance/education/health) 
Migrant Taxes/ Consumption revenue       Family Disorganization
Demographic Changes     ( replacement migration) ·Multicultural children
Political Changes (Government, Courts, Civil Society)  
· Education  
Value Transformation (cracks within homogenous society)  
Social Change/ Multiculturalism   
Global System Multilateral Agreements/Policy Continuation of Unequal Levels of Development
Global Interdependence   Migrant Frictions                           
Emergence of Migrant-related Transnational Industries and Groups    
Transnational Families  




So when does the OFWs find a true champion in government, if the whole government or administration cannot act as this role?  I have no answer; I am just convinced that the relationship between the OFW and the government is onerous in favor of the latter.  But poor OFW, is the option to stay here safer and more secure for him and his family?


Rather than call the OFWs as heroes, why does the government not come out forthright that it treats them more as martyrs?  Anyway, every now and then, the whole government apparatus moves to save an OFW from the gallows in these foreign lands…




6.  Additional Note:


Remittances do not only come from the OFWs.  From Joe Molano, former Executive Director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, comes this information


Overseas remittances come from all categories of overseas Filipinos (OFs) (emigrants/legal permanent residents, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) /other migrant workers and irregulars). Based on latest available figures (Dec. 2006), more than one third (or 3.55M) of the overseas Filipino population of 8.23M are immigrants or permanent legal residents abroad. Temporary migrants or OFWs who come and go number about 3.80M, while irregulars, about 0.87M. There is a clear distinction between the three categories: legal permanent residents abroad do not depend on work contracts for their stay overseas; temporary migrants or OFWs are those whose stay abroad is employment related and who are expected to return to the country at the end of their work contracts; and irregulars (TNTs) are those not properly documented, or without valid residence or work permit or who are overstaying in a foreign country.   


The evidence shows that remittances come from all categories of overseas Filipinos, with very significant amounts coming from traditional immigrant destination countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few others. We should therefore make it a point to also recognize the equally significant contribution of non-OFWs by correctly referring to remittances as “overseas Filipino (OF) remittances”. The sources of the data used in the stock estimates of OFs have been the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the 87 Philippine Embassies and Consulates and Honorary Consulates abroad of the DFA (the main source of data on irregulars). There was also some cross-checking against other available national census data. The estimates only include Philippine born individuals regardless of subsequent acquisition of other citizenship. Yearly estimates of the stock of overseas Filipinos were made during the 13 year period from 1994 to 2006.


So, about 4.7 million workers (OFWs plus TNTs) are most affected by this ‘evil’ economic link between remittances and many economic variables.  The permanent migrants could be pinpointed as the OFs who invest heavily in the country.  Note that those who left the country during martial law and are permanent migrants elsewhere are nearing, at, or just past retirement age and would be looking at investment opportunities here with their pensions.




Filed under overseas workers, Philippine development, Philippines, statistics