Legarda: Happiness Should Also Be Gauge of Country’s Growth

March 20, 2018

On International Happiness Day (March 20), Senator Loren Legarda said that the government should also look into the happiness and well-being of Filipinos as indicators of the nation’s development.

Legarda said that aside from the impressive economic growth of the country that is measured through growth indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the improved well-being of Filipinos should also be measured as a sign of inclusive and sustainable growth.

“Improving quality of life goes beyond economic growth and should include equally important factors such as good governance, equitable and sustainable development, environmental sustainability, cultural preservation, and disaster resilience,” said Legarda.

In the 2018 World Happiness Report, the Philippines ranked 71st happiest nation among 156 countries included in the study of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The top five happiest countries are Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland. All the top countries have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

In line with this, Legarda reiterated her call to adopt the Gross National Happiness (GNH) concept of Bhutan.

“There is a need for a comprehensive approach to measure the happiness and well-being of Filipinos in order to review the impact of existing policies and introduce corrective measures. The GNH concept used by the government of Bhutan measures progress by giving equal importance to non-economic aspects of well-being,” she explained.

The four pillars of Bhutan’s GNH are the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, the preservation and promotion of cultural values, the conservation of the natural environment, and the establishment of good governance.

The four pillars are further classified into nine domains: psychological well-being, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards.

“The quality of life of Filipinos remains poorly understood due to the absence of measures that will reflect the happiness and well-being of the people. Adopting the GNH index will help us pursue the holistic development of the country,” Legarda concluded.