Inadequate StatDev results highlighted in De Lima lecture series

Economics professor and media practitioner Winnie Monsod presented the lack of acquired targets of the 2018 Statistical Indicators on Philippine Development (StatDev) in the inaugural session of the Leila de Lima Lecture Series in San Juan City on Tuesday, August 27. 

Advocacy organization Every Woman launched The Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. De Lima on Monday, and commenced the lecture series today. These were inaugurated for the senator’s 60th birthday, her third behind bars. 

Former peace adviser and Every Woman co-founder Teresita Deles said there was a need to reassert women’s voices in public spaces through celebrating De Lima in a lecture platform.

Monsod shared that one wish De Lima has is for the Filipinos to be “enlightened” amid a culture of fake news and disinformation, rendering her hope that through lectures, Filipinos will “find the truth.”

“You have to have people’s views; you have to be exposed to the truth,” she told Rappler.

'Boon and bane' of Duterte admin

Monsod described the premise of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 (PDP), which promises that the 10-point socioeconomic program would yield pro-farmer, pro-student, and pro-poor results.

The overall PDP framework indicates, “Just like any building construction, we begin by laying down a strong foundation for more inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally-competitive knowledge economy.” 

Despite this, Monsod discussed several elements of what she calls the “bane” of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, including extra-judicial killings (EJKs), Duterte’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court to allegedly dodge EJK investigation, “weaponizing” the government against political enemies and perceived critics, and the President’s “erratic” and “bad boy” behavior in affairs in and out of the country.

She said this “bane” is further strengthened by the lack of acquired targets in the latest StatDev.

The StatDev is an instrument formulated by the Philippine Statistics Authority to measure and monitor economic progress. It computes the likelihood of achieving the end-of-plan targets through “indicators.”

Out of 307 total targets in various sectors, only 138, or 45% of targets have a high chance of being achieved. 127 targets, or 41% have a low chance.

The competitiveness chapter carries the highest number of targets that are likely to be achieved. Meanwhile, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, which have the largest number of aspired targets, are left at the bottom third rank of being likely to achieve its targets.

Monsod describes these numbers to be ample basis for dissatisfaction. However, a June 2019 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey shows that 80% of the Filipino people are happy with the Duterte administration performance.

Reconciling truth

In attempting to understand the disconnect between the data and feelings of the Filipinos, Monsod said that this may be the case as Filipinos are regular recipients of fake news, and the traditional media is being demonized. 

“When we are dealing with unfamiliar issues, seek more information, listen to people with diverse backgrounds, and counter the danger of groupthink,” she said. 

Moving to free De Lima, she said, is another way forward, as it keeps her story “in the public mind.”

Napakahalaga ng pag-aaral ng mga patuloy na mga issue sa lipunan (It is very important to keep learning about the issues that continuously plague our society),” said the senator through her brother Vicente de Lima II, who read a statement from her.

Deles said that Every Woman plans to acquire more signatories for their Free Leila Now statement, and spread information in more lectures about De Lima’s case through their provincial chapters.

De Lima was arrested on February 24, 2017 over charges filed against her by the Department of Justice. High-level inmates at the New Bilibid Prison alleged the senator facilitated a drug trade in the prison, which she denied. As of writing, there has been no conviction.

Every Woman was formed during the congressional inquiry of De Lima in the wake of misogynistic treatment from her fellow congressmen. (READ: #EveryWoman: No to slut-shaming in Philippine Congress–

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.