EDITORIAL| Top priorities

THE TOP government economist, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia, believes it would be better for the country to invest more on education and health.

In a news article released last week, Pernia said it would be better for the country to spend at least 3% of its gross domestic product on education and health, the so-called soft infrastructure aspects, to ensure that it will have a better human capital, its muscle in ensuring a sustained economic growth.

Pernia said the amount is the average in other country, but he believes the Philippines is spending less, so it must take steps to eventually hit the goal. To do this, aside from investment in public schools, the government should also set aside more of its fund in ensuring better health facilities like hospitals.

“We cannot really maximize what we call the demographic dividend unless we invest adequately in quality health and education services,” Pernia said.

Of course, both education and health are two things that the poor can hardly afford as the government has been trying come up with better facilities for these areas of social services. In education, for example, President Rodrigo R. Duterte just recently signed the law that will provide free tertiary education in public institutions, although his economic managers advised him that the government would not have the money to fund it.

But more than the free education, the government should also look at how it can improve the health facilities and ensure that these facilities serve the poor the best way possible. In this way, not only will the poor are able to get better education, they would also be healthy so they could maximize their economic activities and optimize their contribution in growing the economy.

To borrow the word of activist Kailash Satyarthi, “Economic growth and human development need to go hand in hand.” There is no other way to make the country progressive.

Posted in Opinion