Organization Information


After more than a decade of tumultuous upheaval in both of the political and economic fronts, the Philippines has gradually begun to recover under the presents of helmsman ship of President Fidel V. Ramos. Political normalcy and institution that accompany it have been restored and the ringing gunfire of sedition has been replaced by a bleating cacophony of voices competing for the public's vote. The economy has begun to register modest growth rates primarily anchored on increased investments. Such advances has led international analyst to consider the Philippines the next Asian economic miracle. Aiming to achieve such distinction, the Ramos administration has embarked on an ambitious campaign to claim a status of a Newly- Industrializing Country (NIC) by the turn of the century.

Dubbed as "Philippines 2000" the goal is to pursue the high growth path taken by the Asian economic tiger. Implicit in this lofty task is the recognition of how far the country has lagged behind its neighbor. From being second only to Japan in the 1950's in terms of the level of economic development, the country has the dubious distinction of being the only Southeast Asian Country where the number of poor families actually increased and where poverty remained unchanged. Latest official statistics (1996) pegged poverty incidence at a high 37.5% of total number of families. While the government has vowed to pursue economic growth with equity by giving priority to social reforms and poverty alleviation, the sheer magnitude of poverty in the Philippines means the poverty continue to persist for some time's despite of the Government best efforts. Indeed, as shown by the experience of the other countries during the initial stage of economic takeoff, the poverty picture is expected to get worse before it gets better.


Nestled atop a wild rugged mountain range of a few road and deep water gorges, shrouded by the thick stands of tall Benguet pine trees, the Cordilleras Administrative Region was regarded last year (1995) as the fastest growing region recording a 7.65% economic growth rate. This growth, however, was ascribed to the manufacturing sector that grew by a 146% with almost 50% of the production coming from Texas Instrument Philippines, Inc. (TIIP), the leading electronic products exporter. Hence, the reality is that this economic growth hardly benefits directly the indigenous peoples of the region. For the first quarter of the year, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Reported a flagging economic performance of the region by a drop in the employment rate NEDA attribute to retrenchment in the industrial sector particularly in the mining industry as the supervening factor. This was further aggravated by a surge of 11.3% in the number of workers entering the labor force.

Inflammation registered at a trouble digit 10.4% rate. This spiralling cycle of joblessness and the marginalization of incomes has driven more families to live below the poverty threshold. Those caught in the web of crippling poverty know only too well the economic facts - for the children of these families, school is out of the question. While the Philippines constitution is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, the harsh reality is that some will always be more equal than others. While it mandates the delivery of universal and free primary and secondary education, school-age children among these families are forced into the labor market just to simply survive. While the government recognizes the imperatives of education in its quest for a rosy future under "Philippines 2000," of keeping its citizens in the cutting edge of technology in an increasingly competitive global market, funding has traditionally been funneled to the megacities. The sheer magnitude of the poverty situation in the whole archipelago constrains the government to allocate to the regon what we may term as a mere infinitesimal drop in the proverbial funding bucket.


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