Philip­pines slips in hu­man cap­i­tal rank­ing

Business World - - FRONT PAGE - Eli­jah Joseph C. Tubayan

THE PHILIP­PINES has re­mained among East Asia and the Pa­cific’s top 10 economies in terms of hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to an an­nual re­port of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum that nev­er­the­less showed the coun­try slip­ping in re­gional and global rank­ing, weighed down by chal­lenges in skills ap­pli­ca­tion and ac­cu­mu­la­tion through work.

The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum’s Hu­man Cap­i­tal Re­port 2017 showed the Philip­pines slip­ping to ninth place in East Asia and the Pa­cific from eighth spot last year, with a global rank of 50th out of 130 coun­tries and a score of 64.36 on a scale where 100 is the “best” mark, down from 49th spot — also out of 130 economies — with a 71.75 grade in the 2016 ros­ter.

The Philip­pines’ score fell be­low East Asia and the Pa­cific’s 65.77 av­er­age this year, but bested the re­gion’s 69.75 grade last year.

China, which ranked 11th in East Asia and the Pa­cific and 71st glob­ally last year with a score of 67.81, broke into the re­gion’s top 10 this year, dis­lodg­ing Viet­nam (now 64th glob­ally with a score of 62.19) from the group and jump­ing over Mon­go­lia (10th in the re­gion and 51st glob­ally with a 64.35 grade), the Philip­pines and Thai­land (eighth in the re­gion and 40th glob­ally with 66.15) to land sev­enth spot in the re­gion and 34th glob­ally with a 67.72 grade.

The in­dex ranks 130 coun­tries on how well they are de­vel­op­ing their hu­man cap­i­tal on a scale

from 0 (worst) to 100 ( best) across four di­men­sions, namely: ca­pac­ity, de­ploy­ment, de­vel­op­ment and know-how, and five age groups: 0–14 years; 15–24 years; 25–54 years; 55–64 years; and at least 65 years old.

“It can be used as a tool to as­sess progress within coun­tries and points to op­por­tu­ni­ties for cross-coun­try learn­ing and ex­change,” the re­port ex­plained.

The “ca­pac­ity” subindex mea­sures gains in ed­u­ca­tion; “de­ploy­ment” cov­ers skills ap­pli­ca­tion and ac­cu­mu­la­tion of skills through work; “de­vel­op­ment” quan­ti­fies ef­forts to ed­u­cate, train and up­grade the skills of stu­dents and the work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion; while the “knowhow” subindex “cap­tures the breadth and depth of spe­cial­ized skills used at work”.

Mea­sured against th­ese subindices, the Philip­pines placed:

• 19th with a score of 78.8 in terms of ca­pac­ity, which cov­ers lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy, as well as pri­mary, sec­ondary and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion at­tain­ment;

• 60th with 65.7 in terms of de­vel­op­ment, cov­er­ing pri­mary, sec­ondary, ter­tiary and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion en­rol­ment; qual­ity of pri­mary schools; qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem; skill di­ver­sity of grad­u­ates and ex­tent of staff train­ing;

• 60th with 52.3 in know- how, cov­er­ing share of medium and highly skilled work­ers, avail­abil­ity of skilled em­ploy­ees and eco­nomic com­plex­ity (which mea­sures de­gree of so­phis­ti­ca­tion of a coun­try’s “pro­duc­tive knowl­edge” as shown in the qual­ity of its ex­ports);

• 87th with a grade of 60.6 in terms of de­ploy­ment, cov­er­ing la­bor force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate, em­ploy­ment gen­der gap, as well as un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment rate.

Sought for com­ment, La­bor Un­der­sec­re­tary Joel B. Maglung­sod, whom the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte had plucked from the left­wing la­bor move­ment to serve in govern­ment, said that while the cur­rent govern­ment’s P8.44-tril­lion “Build, Build, Build” in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment pro­gram may help im­prove hu­man re­source use in the Philip­pines, it is “tem­po­rary” and not “strate­gic in na­ture” when it comes to de­vel­op­ing hu­man cap­i­tal “[ k]asi pagkat­a­pos ng ( be­cause af­ter) in­fra­struc­ture and con­struc­tion ( is com­pleted), wala na (de­vel­op­ment and use of hu­man re­source ends).”

“We re­ally need to de­velop agri­cul­ture and our man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, as well as pro­cess­ing of raw ma­te­ri­als in min­ing for in­stance,” Mr. Maglung­sod said partly in Filipino and English, re­fer­ring to the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ten­tion to end the ex­port of me­tal ore and de­velop lo­cal pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

“In or­der to es­tab­lish eco­nomic sta­bil­ity, you also have to sta­bi­lize work­ers in their em­ploy­ment, be­cause work­ers are the pri­mary force of our econ­omy,” he added in a tele­phone in­ter­view, cit­ing the need to tighten re­stric­tions on con­trac­tual hir­ing of work­ers. — with

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