“Tinimbang ka Ngunit Kulang” (We have fallen short of benchmarks) is one of the country’s movie-classic.  Its theme was borrowed by the Movement for Good Governance (MGG), a coalition of reform-minded individuals and organizations.   Firmly believing that the country deserves the best leaders, the movement launched a scorecard in 2010 to help voters discern who among the candidates were leaders that the country deserves.  Candidates were given scores using a 3-point scale on three simple measures:  Mahusay, Matino at Marangal (Effective, Empowering and Ethical).   Scoring was based on data and a record of the candidate’s performance.    The scorecard gained traction and was translated into a weekly TV program “Timbangan” hosted by Prof. Winnie Monsod.

MGG took the scorecard to a higher level and “hounded “the administration to keep the promises it made during the campaign.  To the tune of the song “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,” the administration’s performance was benchmarked using a 10-point scale.  MGG gave the Aquino Administration a score of 5.81 in 2014 and 4.63 to the Duterte administration in 2017.

MGG took a respite for many reasons.   Perhaps, the use of scorecards has been made irrelevant with the rise of populism and performative leadership.  It could be that the attention span of people has become so short.  The rise of “tik-toks” could have displaced scorecards which required analytical thinking.

Fortunately, global institutions have not taken a hiatus in evaluating how governments perform in delivering services in health, education, justice, and governance.   MGG could not do any better than them in using results to evaluate the  quality of our government’s performance .  

The Philippines ranked 79 out of 98 countries on how government handled COVID 19.  The Philippines was given  score of 30.6 out of 100 by Lowy Institute  based on the number of COVID cases and  deaths per million of our population and  the number of tests conducted per thousand.  New Zealand with a score of 94.4 topped the list.

The country placed 69 out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index and our level of hunger, child mortality and under nutrition   was described as “moderate’.  The FNRI placed 64.1% of our households as “food insecure” which means that they have had a day or more without food.  Three out of 10 of our children under 5 are stunted, and, 2 out every 10 are underweight.

The Global Democracy Index gave government a score of 6.56 out of 10.   Governments’ with scores   less than 8 are described as “flawed democracy”—i.e. with free elections but with problems such as infringement of media freedom and minor suppression of political opposition.  The country’s political culture is described as “underdeveloped” with low levels of political participation.

The country was ranked 129 out of 163 countries by the Global Peace Index because of  a high level of internal conflict, access to weapons and perceived criminality.  The country was 10th in the world on Global Terrorism.

The Global Health Index gave government a score of 47.6 out of 100 and described our health performance as low in emergency preparation, response planning, access to health care and low capacity of clinics and community care center.

The Philippines continuously slid in the Rule of Law Index.  It ranked 51 in 2015 and is now placed at 91 out of 128 countries. It had the lowest score in the guarantee of the right to life and security, ranking 125, and, 123 in the guarantee of an impartial criminal system.

The country improved by a notch in the World Competitiveness Survey scoring 45th out of 63 countries. But it is considered the least competitive among Southeast Asian countries.

It came as a shock that that our students scored the lowest among 58 participating countries in Mathematics in an assesment made by TIMMS.  Our 15-year olds scored lowest in Reading in the PISA assessment.  It was disheartening to note that over 80% of our students did not reach a minimum level of reading proficiency and nearly 70% do not have a growth mindset or a “Can Do” attitude. What can account for such a pessimistic outlook, i.e. that they think they cannot change their level of intelligence?  Our record in mathematics was equally dismal.  Only 19% of our students performed poorly and 81% did not even reach a “low performing category”.

The truth does hurt but the truth can also set us free.

mguevara@synergeia.org.ph


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/06/09/it-is-a-sin-to-tell-a-lie/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=it-is-a-sin-to-tell-a-lie)