The Philippines retained its 115th rank among 188 countries in terms of quality of living in 2014, the United Nations Development Program said in a report.
The UNDP, in its 2015 Human Development Report, gave the Philippines a human development index of 0.668 percent and placed it along 38 other countries under a group with medium human development.
It said between 1980 and 2014, the Philippines HDI value rose from 0.557 to 0.668, an increase of 20 percent or an average annual increase of about 0.54 percent.
The Philippines 2014 HDI of 0.668 was above the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group.
The country’s score, however, was below that world average of 0.711 and regional average of 0.71 for East Asia and Pacific countries.
“Transferable and higher skills are needed to secure human development progress in Asia and the Pacific. The region may have been experiencing fast growth and rapid human development, but not necessarily fast job creation,” the UNDP said.
HDI is an average measure of basic human development achievements in a country.
The Philippines inequality-adjusted HDI fell to 0.547, a loss of 18.1 percent due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI dimension indices. The gender development index, a measure based on the sex-disaggregated HDI, is calculated for 161 countries.
The 2014 female HDI value for the Philippines was 0.649, in contrast with 0.664 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 0.977.
Norway ranked first among 188 countries with an HDI of 0.944, while Niger remained at the bottom with an index of 0.348.
Other countries with very high human development are Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and Denmark.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the HDR was aligned with the Philippines’ goal of achieving inclusive growth through the massive creation of quality employment and the reduction of poverty in its multiple dimensions.
“Over the past five years, we have made major strides on this front. During the course of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, our country grew at an annual average of 6.2 percent from 2010 to 2014, making us one of the fastest-growing major economies in Asia,” he said.
Balisacan said the robust growth reflected the improvement of the country’s employment wherein the proportion of the unemployed recently reached a new record low of 5.6 percent primarily resulting from the boost in the services and industry sectors.
“Moreover, expenditures for social services have significantly increased, wherein the average social services expenditures per person over the past five years, adjusted for inflation, are now 37 percent higher than the same expenditures from 2005 to 2009,” he said.
“For the long-term, we have undertaken basic education reforms through the K to 12 program, which adds two more years to basic education, providing Filipino students sufficient time to master the new curriculum that is at par with international standards. Also contributing to the agenda is the conditional cash transfer or CCT Program, which provides cash assistance to families that send their children to school regularly,” Balisacan said.