I’VE been trying to get sound bites -- if not kilobytes -- from the internet on what the candidates are promising and how to attain them. Nothing like something concrete to measure accountability.

No such luck on most. All have pro-poor planks. As I can remember, the spiels of the 2010 candidates are no different from those made in the 1980s, 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. Most fail miserably to carry through their accountabilities.

Erap Estrada made the sounds based on the populist slogan “Erap para sa mahirap.” Now it’s Manny Villar crooning on “Naging mahirap si Villar.”

This is a non-brainer. Many Filipinos don’t have to be told that they’re poor. The Philippines should channel its fiscal stimulus package to social spending to achieve economic growth of as much as 12 percent in the coming years, while speeding up progress in meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDG), said a joint study released by the Asian Development Bank, United Nation’s Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap).

Allocating a big chunk of its package to social protection — measures that provide a social floor that can cushion the impact of the crisis on the poor -- could also lead to a greater short-term economic boost, the report titled “Achieving Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty” said.

With all the hot air on anti-poverty alleviation programs of previous elections, the country finds itself competing with cellar dwellers Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor Leste among 11 countries in Southeast Asia. The report says the Philippines is off track by more than 40 per cent of the 21 development indicators, including poverty, hunger, infant mortality and maternal health.

The MDGs are eight international development goals that 192 United Nations member-states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include reducing extreme poverty, cutting child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development.

Now, who among the candidates vying for executive seats promise to fulfill their promises on anti-poverty as basis for accountability and measures of performance? Or for that matter, among the lawmakers?

Frankly, “nada”. Nothing.

I checked the internet linking the MDG with campaign promises. I checked the Twitter and Facebook accounts of candidates. Sadly, I have yet to see neither hide nor hair of MDB benchmarks. And the click is ticking toward 2015 when the country is supposed to have attained their country-specific MDGs.

Well, candidates cannot run away from their MDG obligations. It’s an obligation to the world that, regardless of political persuasions, the government has a responsibility to fulfill. From the highest post of the land to the barangays.

MDGs are major human rights-IOUs for the world’s poor. It is the global platform for governance. Whether the politicians promise anything or nothing during the elections, the poor have obligations to demand what is rightly due theirs.

MDGs are not acts of charity or dole outs. Well our voters keep that in mind. Well our schools teach the students on the MDGs and to demand from the candidates. Well our media and our churches know that, and demand accountability on reducing extreme poverty.

Please email comments to bqsanc@yahoo.com