MANILA — Malacañang on Wednesday said the Duterte administration will work “tirelessly” until all Filipinos are lifted out of poverty and live comfortable lives.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark in response to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that 86 percent of Filipinos rated their lives positively in the last quarter of 2018.

Panelo welcomed the survey result, noting that this figure hardly changed with 87 percent having the same sentiment in December 2017.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with the members of his official family, has been working tirelessly to lift millions of our people from poverty and bring a comfortable life for all,” Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo said detractors, critics and the opposition have deliberately ignored these survey results and have chosen to focus on Duterte’s fiery rhetoric, particularly his relentless illegal drugs campaign.

Panelo pointed out that despite Duterte’s priority to improve the country’s peace and order situation, he has also “laid the foundation that will propel the nation to progress and reach new heights.”

“It, therefore, gives us encouragement that almost all Filipinos, whether here or abroad, have universally recognized the bold strides undertaken by the President and his administration to pursue socio-development programs that are not only inclusive but are also sustainable,” Panelo said.

Panelo, cited the administration’s efforts to uplift Filipinos lives including the signing of long-pending bills into laws and issuance of executive measures such as the free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs); free irrigation to farmers; free internet access in public places; institutionalization of feeding programs for public school students; the universal health care program; free medicines and financial support to indigent patients; and mandatory PhilHealth coverage for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

He also cited how Duterte gave huge and unparalleled subsidies in favor of government hospitals; increased SSS pensions for seniors; improved wages of government employees; doubled the salaries of soldiers, policemen, jail officers and firemen; prohibited illegal labor subcontracting resulting in the regularization of hundreds of thousands of workers; established work-from-home arrangements; waived government fees and charges of government-issued documents to first-time job seekers; increased the maternity leave period of female workers; and provided free access to tech-vocational education and training; and institutionalizing a national cancer control program, among others.

The Palace official pointed out that Duterte also signed into laws and proposed measures that are aimed at reducing poverty like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Magna Carta of the Poor to uplift the standard of living of the underprivileged.

He said Duterte has distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries and farmers; instituted the farmer and fisherfolk enterprise development program through the Sagip Saka Act; and has consistently pushed Congress to legislate for the return of the coco levy fund with safeguard measures in favor of coconut farmers through a trust fund.

Duterte has also strengthened local domestic regions such as the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to transform Mindanao from “an island of promise” to “an island of fulfillment” with the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, he added.

As for Filipinos living abroad, Panelo said the administration has repatriated thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by amnesty programs of several countries.

Returning OFWs were provided with training and livelihood assistance for their reintegration. An Overseas Filipino Bank was also established to provide efficient remittance services, low service rates and profitable offers to OFWs he added.

Panelo said Duterte made the Philippines one of the strongest economies and growth leaders in the region by changing its business climate that prompted the influx of foreign investments, paving the way for the Golden Age of Infrastructure in the country with his “Build, Build, Build” Program.

Under Duterte’s leadership, Panelo said the Philippines earned the highest credit rating in the country’s economic history with a BBB+ upgrade from global debt watcher Standard and Poor’s.

“These are just some of the measures and accomplishments of this administration and indeed, our people have felt genuine and meaningful change as a result thereof, thus the outcome of the survey,” Panelo said.

“These shall be the bedrock of the Duterte legacy in the remainder of his term and the Filipino people can expect that we will not rest nor will we tire until all our taxpayers are convinced that they are getting their money’s worth,” he added. (PNA)

By Azer Parrocha  September 25, 2019, 8:39 pm