Legarda Urges Gov’t to Include Filipinos’ Happiness as Indicator of Positive Growth

October 25, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today urged the government to update the nation’s development indicators to reflect the happiness and well-being of Filipinos.

Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, renewed her call for the government to adopt the Gross National Happiness (GNH) concept of the Royal Government of Bhutan during a lecture on the GNH by Dr. Saamdu Chetri, Executive Director of GNH Centre Bhutan.

“The overall quality of life of Filipinos remains poorly understood due to the absence of measures that will reflect their happiness and well-being. We need to pursue the holistic development of the country amid the threats of climate change and increased disaster risks,” she said.

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

Legarda has filed Senate Resolution No. 15, which urges the government, particularly the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), to adopt Bhutan’s GNH concept.

The Senator explained that statistics such as gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP), which only indicate the value of goods and services turned out by the market economy, are not designed to measure the quality of life, as these economic yardsticks foster policies that place too much emphasis on economic growth at all costs.

“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 Royal Government of Bhutan measures progress by giving equal importance to non-economic aspects of well-being,” said Legarda.

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.