Philippine News Summary (07 May 2008)

After the Philippines bought rice at record breaking prices in the international commodity market, it once again tried to buy more using the same medium. But with the widely reported bid failure, 2 days ago, the papers are now saying that the government eyes direct procurement. Let it be noted that this site made that suggestion in previous posts. Just the other day, we also found out that other countries have done just that as an immediate remedy.

As the rice price increases in unison with the value of petroleum, consumer prices climbed to a 3 year high. A year ago, the country's inflation was at 2.3 percent. This year, the month of April registered 8.3% and the average inflation rate for the first four months of the year is already at 6.2%.

Other than the government's planned remedies, the Asian Development Bank proposes to increase its budget for agricultural loans to $2 Billion. This will be in addition to the $500 million in budgetary support which it intends to release to some country's that will named in a future announcement.

In regard to the weather, PagAsa reports that hot humid weather will continue until Friday despite the rains that poured during the past few days.

For a bit of good news, reports that the Philippines have made good progress in terms of caring for children. It achieved a 47 percent reduction in its under-5 death rate in the last 15 years. The report added,

“Department of Health launched a number of initiatives in 1989 promoting immunizations to prevent disease, oral rehydration therapy to fight diarrhea, and breastfeeding to increase newborn survival and improve nutrition. Today more than three-quarters of children with diarrhea receive oral rehydration therapy. Among developing countries, the Philippines has one of the highest percentages of births assisted by trained personnel (60 percent) and one of the lowest newborn mortality rates (15 per 1,000 live births).”

Let's hope that progress continue along these lines despite the problems that the country is experiencing.

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