Kabenguetan Rules!

Benguet is Number One. Well, that’s according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in its ranking of the country’s provinces using the Human Development Index (HDI). Instead of focusing on income alone, HDI also measures other development indicators such as life expectancy, school enrolment, and literacy. In 2005, Benguet emerged as the top-ranked province with a score of 0.738. Other provinces in the top ten are: Batanes, Rizal, Cavite, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, and Ilocos Norte.

Meanwhile, Ifugao improved its performance and is recognized among the “top gainers”. It also graduates from the bottom ten provinces — it was ranked 72nd among 77 provinces in the 2000 HDI. More here.

I’ve been trying to download the whole 2005 Philippine HDI Report to see how the other Cordillera provinces fared but it’s difficult to download.

In the meantime, this is how the Cordillera provinces ranked in the year 2000: Benguet, 10th; Abra, 24th; Mt. Province, 40th; Apayao, 50th; Kalinga, 54th; and Ifugao, 72nd. To see how the Cordillera provinces fared vis-a-vis other provinces, click here .

Rankings and indexes are not infallible evidence of what is “best” since it depends too much on the variables that one decides to measure. Nonetheless, HDI has been accepted as a good indicator of the areas that states, and in this case provinces, should improve on. It is a good guide to government officials who are serious about improving the lives of their people.

So how is the Philippines faring in terms of human development? It ranks number 84 out of 177 countries. Not so bad but nothing to boast about either. We are not at the bottom but we might be in 20 years.

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