Legarda Urges Gov’t to Measure Filipinos’ Gross National Happiness

Senator Loren Legarda today encouraged the government to develop new growth indicators, beyond the traditional economic yardsticks that only emphasize economic progress, in measuring the general well-being of Filipinos.

Legarda said that 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.

“Statistics such as gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP), which only indicate the value of goods and services turned out by our market economy, are not designed to measure the quality of life of Filipinos,” she stressed.

“Our extractive and consumptive model for progress, which conveniently factors out the impact of economic activities on the natural environment and on the well-being of people, increasingly reveals our vulnerability to disasters and climate change and puts our sustainable development goals in peril,” the Senator added.

In this regard, Legarda filed Senate Resolution No. 672, urging the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to develop new indicators that will reflect the happiness and well-being of Filipinos, adopting the gross national happiness (GNH) concept of the Royal Government of Bhutan. This aims to pursue the holistic development of the country amid threats of climate change.

She explained that the Royal Government of Bhutan’s GNH measures progress by giving equal importance to non-economic aspects of well-being—sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, environmental conservation, promotion and preservation of cultural values, and good governance.

Legarda also said that various countries have adopted the Bhutanese concept. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has launched a happiness index that seeks to complement the GDP and other indicators, while the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution encouraging member states to implement such concept.

“To ensure an improved quality of life for our people, it is imperative for the government to measure and pursue the kind of progress that is founded on good governance, equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, ecosystems protection, cultural preservation and disaster resilience,” Legarda concluded.***