Legarda calls for effective implementation of the Magna Carta of the Poor to eradicate poverty

October 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — In celebration of the International Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty on October 17, three-term Senator and now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda renewed her call to ensure that the poorest of the poor belonging to the vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the country are provided with the necessary government interventions that address their needs and support their aspirations to achieve inclusive growth and to alleviate poverty.

“Our government should ensure that we are extending the necessary support for all poor Filipino families. We have to bring the national government programs closer to the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the society,” Legarda said.

“We must invest heavily in the grassroots to stimulate growth that will provide more employment and livelihood opportunities to help alleviate poverty. Receiving such support from the government will encourage people to engage in productive livelihood activities and there will be no reason for people to beg in the streets anymore,” she added.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), poverty rate was estimated to have risen to 18.3% in 2020, which is equivalent to about 20 million poor Filipinos, from 16.7% or 17.7 million poor Filipinos based on the 2018-data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Legarda, principal author of the Magna Carta of the Poor that was enacted in 2019, said that there is a need to ensure that every Filipino rightfully receives the minimum basic needs—right to adequate food, right to decent work, right to relevant and quality education, right to adequate housing, and right to the highest attainable standard of health–that will enable them to participate in the country’s growth and development.

Legarda’s interventions in the national budget in the past years have made these service—such as free college education, universal healthcare coverage, increased funding for social services, free irrigation for small farmers, and more livelihood opportunities—accessible to more Filipinos.

However, she says, “there is a need to ensure that all poor Filipinos are aware of these programs and that they actually receive and benefit from these services.”

The former Senator urged both the national and local government to be efficient in information dissemination with regards to the availability of these assistance programs and she further challenged the government to simplify the process for people to benefit from the said programs.

“The programs are there—DOLE TUPAD, DOLE Pangkabuhayan, DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program, DSWD Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, DTI Shared Service Facilities, DOH Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients, Pantawid Pamilya Program, TESDA trainings, CHED Tulong Dunong, free irrigation for farmers, universal access to healthcare, and free college tuition, among many others,” Legarda mentioned.

“While we need to work on increasing the allocation for each program to ensure that more people will benefit from these, the challenge also lies in the fact that not many are aware that such program exists. I therefore call on the local governments to spearhead better information campaign to help implement these programs more effectively,” she added.

According to Legarda, once people are informed of the availability of such government assistance, the next step the government should do is to simplify the process of application and release of funds.

She also lamented that most of the possible beneficiaries of these programs are from far-flung areas and they have to spend time, energy, and money just to come to the city or town proper and request for assistance but, most of the time, the process takes too long such that those who are in need of assistance would have to spend more before they actually receive the help that they deserve.

“There are no band-aid solutions to a problem as complex and as deeply rooted as poverty. Poverty is caused by decades of poor governance and lack of opportunities for our people to prosper. We should not blame the poor for being poor. We have to empower them and enable them to advance because we cannot achieve real lasting growth if there are still millions of  Filipinos living below the poverty line,” Legarda ended.



Source: Philippine Star