MANILA — Lifting Filipinos out of poverty is not just a challenge to the Duterte administration but for all previous and subsequent administrations, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Senate President Ralph Recto said that of all the challenges Duterte laid out, the hardest is the liberation of six million Filipinos from poverty.
“That has been the challenge of all administrations in this country. We have to improve the lives of our countrymen. Majority of our Filipinos are poor – that has been the challenge of all administrations,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted June 22 to 26 showed that 10% or an estimated 2.5 million families experienced involuntary hunger at least once from April to June.
This figure is higher than the 9.5% or 2.3 million families that experienced hunger in March 2019, the survey found.
Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte himself has admitted in the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) that poverty remains a problem, that’s why his economic managers continue to lay out measures to address it.
“Hindi ba tinatanggap ni Presidente iyon. Doon sa SONA niya, ‘di ba sinasabi niya, ‘na ito ang problema natin, may 6 na milyong Pilipino ang nasa poverty line, kailangang gawan natin ito ng paraan (Hasn’t the President accepted that. In his SONA, remember he mentioned that ‘this is our problem, there are 6 million Filipinos in the poverty line, we need to do something about this),’ Panelo said.
“In other words, in-acknowledge niya (he acknowledged it), that is why our economic managers are doing something,” he added.
According to Panelo, the administration’s ambitious Build, Build, Build, infrastructure project is expected to generate jobs for Filipinos that will, in turn, earn them income.
“Pag meron kang poverty, ibig sabihin, kulang ang income na pumapasok sa Pilipinas. Kaya nga tayo may mga Build, Build, Build (When you have poverty, it means that the income made by the Philippines is lacking. That’s why we have Build, Build, Build),” Panelo said.
“Pag iyang mga projects na iyan kumalat sa buong bansa, ibig sabihin may trabaho ang mga Pilipino. Pag may pumasok naman na mga trade relations, ibig sabihin may pumasok ditong mag-i-invest, may pabrikang mga bago, may trabaho na (If those projects expand throughout the country, it means that Filipinos get jobs. When trade relations enter, that means there are investors, there are new factories, there are jobs),” he added.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) earlier said the Build, Build, Build program has generated more than 4 million jobs since the start of the program.
In his SONA, Duterte appealed to Congress to pass measures to help the government address poverty in the country.
Duterte urged Congress to pass the remaining packages of the tax reform program among other anti-poverty measures.
Previously, he signed into law the Magna Carta of the Poor (RA 11291), which aims to uplift the standard of living and quality of life of impoverished Filipinos.
He also signed into law an act institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the government’s national poverty reduction program. (PNA)
By Azer Parrocha July 23, 2019, 10:09 pm