UNDP, BLGF launch ‘Equanomics’ - Economies for Gender Equality - in the Philippines

May 29, 2024

Photo l-f: BLGF Director Pascualito Lapiñ;, BLGF Focal for Equanomics Grace Boongaling; BLGF Acting Executive Director for Administration Anastacia Llaneta; BLGF Acting Executive Director for Operations Pamela Quizon; PCW Deputy Director for Operations Kristine Balmes; UNDP Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran; DOF Assistant Secretary Karlo Adriano; and UNDP Climate Action Programme Team Leader Floradema Eleazar.

UNDP Philippines


Manila, Philippines – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), officially launched Equanomics in the Philippines.


Equanomics is UNDP’s key initiative aimed at dismantling economic systems and structures that perpetuate gender inequality and power imbalances. By supporting countries in transforming their economies to promote gender equality, Equanomics focuses on reshaping fiscal policies and supporting institutions best positioned to advance gender-responsive taxation, such as finance ministries and tax authorities.


Equanomics will focus on gender-responsive local tax reforms in the Philippines.


The launch in the Philippines was attended by 62 key officers from BLGF, local treasurers and assessors, and representatives from the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). This initiative is crucial given the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, which provides LGUs with greater fiscal space and opportunity to contribute to realizing the Philippines' national development agenda.


BLGF Executive Director Consolacion Agcaoili expressed her full support for the Equanomics initiative. To this end, the implementation of Equanomics will help LGUs to effectively utilize its Gender and Development (GAD) Budget and contribute to maintaining and accelerating Philippine progress in the area of gender equality. She noted the imperative for BLGF “to mainstream gender in our operations and offer guidance to LGUs on how to leverage local taxation functions to reduce gender gaps in their sectors and promote equitable allocation and management of resources.” 


Taking off from the two workstreams of the global initiative, the implementation of Equanomics in the Philippines is comprised of two components. The first focuses on equipping BLGF, the lead agency overseeing local government financial systems, to mainstream gender in its operations through the UNDP Gender Equality Seal Certification Process. The second component aims to provide policy support to advance gender-responsive local tax reform.


Officials from the Department of Finance (DOF) also participated in the launch.


DOF Assistant Secretary Karlo Adriano underscored the importance of developing a common understanding of the role of fiscal policies in realizing gender equality. He cited the potential of fiscal policies, such as targeted cash transfers, to narrow gender gaps. PCW Deputy Director Kristine Balmes highlighted how gender issues manifest in the Philippine economy, including women’s low labor force participation, the gender pay gap, and biases hindering women’s employment and career advancement. She emphasized that addressing these issues is crucial for facilitating women’s progress and requires reforms, which is the core objective of the Equanomics initiative.


In his message, UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran reaffirmed UNDP’s commitment to initiating dialogue and building partnerships to make development and economies more people centered.  


As we redefine how we view and structure our economies, our goal is to empower groups whose narratives and voices have been overlooked in mainstream economics. We hope that women are empowered to claim their rights, particularly through fiscal and tax policies,” noted Dr. Ramachandran.


During the launch program, a series of presentations covered various topics, including the Gender Equality Seal, Philippine progress on SDG 5: Gender Equality, gender-responsive budgeting, and gender and tax reforms, among others.


Equanomics is part of UNDP’s broader goal to mobilize financing towards gender equality globally.