Legarda on Int’l Happiness Day: Consider Happiness in Policy Planning as a Wider Measure for People’s Wellbeing

March 20, 2019

In celebration of the International Day of Happiness, March 20, Senator Loren Legarda urged public and private sector leaders to consider people’s happiness in policy planning as a wider measure in improving the quality of life and wellbeing of Filipinos.

Legarda said that the event recognizes the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human goal and places its importance in public policy objectives towards a more inclusive, equitable, and balanced approach to economic growth.

“Beyond income and wealth, it is perhaps high time for us to assess our impacts and effectiveness as leaders in our respective fields by also measuring what truly matters to the people we serve, and that is, their happiness. At the end of the day, the most important question we ask ourselves and the people surrounding us is, Am I happy? Are you happy?” Legarda said.

Legarda mentioned that the International Day of Happiness was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 through a resolution initiated by Bhutan, a country that recognizes the value of national happiness over national income, adopting a Gross National Happiness (GNH) as an alternative indicator to Gross National or Domestic Product.

She said that measuring GNH includes nine domains: (1) psychological wellbeing, (2) health, (3) education, (4) time use, (5) cultural diversity and resilience, (6) good governance, (7) community vitality, (8) ecological diversity and resilience, and (9) living standards.

In the World Happiness Report for 2018, Legarda also stated that the Philippines ranks 71st among 156 countries surveyed by their happiness levels, but noted that the country is the 14th top gainer compared to 2008-2010 levels.[1]

“We Filipinos are known for our positive disposition and outlook in life, but we can certainly do more to increase our happiness levels and therefore improve the quality of life and welfare of all our people. As we celebrate this International Happiness Day, may we be agents of positive change to bring about happiness in ourselves, others, the country, and the world,” Legarda concluded.***

[1] World Happiness Report, 2018. https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2018/WHR_web.pdf