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Legarda Bats for Immediate Passage of Bill Favoring the Poor

January 26, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today urged her colleagues in the Senate to immediately approve the proposed Magna Carta of the Poor, which seeks to uplift the lives of impoverished Filipinos not only through access to basic services but also by prioritizing investments and anti-poverty programs that will enable the poor to take part in the country’s growth and development.

Legarda noted that despite the country’s continued economic progress, majority of Filipinos continue to struggle on a daily basis according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA reported that in the first six months of 2013, the poverty incidence was estimated at 24.9 percent of the population while subsistence, which refers to the numbers of Filipinos living in extreme poverty, was at 10.7 percent.

“The data clearly shows that more Filipinos remain vulnerable to poverty. This calls for the need to institutionalize long-term poverty alleviation strategies that are essential to improving the living standards of every Filipino,” Legarda stressed.

She added, “We need to eliminate disparities in basic services by adopting an area-based, sectoral and focused intervention to poverty alleviation where every poor Filipino family must be empowered to meet their minimum basic needs—access to adequate food, shelter, education, decent work, health care and safe water—through the partnership of the government and the basic sectors of society.”

Under Senate Bill No. 2515 or the Magna Carta of the Poor, which Legarda authored, all government agencies are mandated to provide full access of their services to the poor by formulating their own National Poverty Reduction Plan, which consists of all sectoral and local poverty reduction plans of each barangay, municipality, city and province.

Funding will come from various programs of the government such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and socialized housing programs of the National Housing Authority, among others.

Moreover, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shall design and establish a single system of classification to be used for targeting beneficiaries of the government’s poverty alleviation programs and projects to ensure that such programs reach the intended beneficiaries.