The Philippines has made considerable progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, achieving all the targets remains a daunting challenge, with goals for poverty, education, and maternal mortality unlikely to be attained by 2015. Focus has now shifted to informing the post-2015 development agenda, based on future scenarios for the macroeconomy and the MDGs. In this study, such assessment is done using an integrated macro-micro modelling approach, using the Maquette for MDG Simulation (MAMS), calibrated to Philippine data, over the period 2009-2025.
Findings for the scenario analysis are as follows: In the Base or business-as-usual scenario, MDG targets for household water and sanitation, as well as child health, will be met (or approximated) by 2015. However, those for education and maternal health will be attained in 2025 and 2021, respectively. The goal for poverty will not be achieved even by 2025. The national debt follows a downward trajectory over the simulation period.
Meanwhile in the alternative scenarios, significantly higher outlays for primary education, health, and infrastructure (equivalent to 2% of GDP) lead to earlier attainment of the education and maternal health goals (2019 and 2016, respectively); likewise significant gains will be realized in terms of per capita income and poverty reduction by 2025. Tax financing of higher outlays maintains the debt reduction path in the Base; however, financing through increased borrowing from abroad leads to persistent escalation of foreign debt. Hence, government should be cautious about proposals for dramatic increases in social spending and infrastructure to more quickly close development gaps, unless it is able to accompany increases in spending with commensurate tax effort.