NAPC exec sees 14% poverty rate in 2022

COTABATO CITY, December 18 — President Duterte’s point man in the anti-poverty campaign has expressed confidence the country’s poverty incidence would have been whittled down to 14% in 2022 once “government services are brought closer to the 14 basic sectors of society without let-up.”

The country’s poverty incidence currently stands at 21.6%.

But in Davao City last week, National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary and lead convenor Noel K. Felongco said NAPC has figured out a formula—that combines social reform agenda and poverty reduction activities– in sustaining government services to these basic sectors.

He said this is backed all the way by President Duterte and former Special Assistant to the president Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

The Malasakit Centers, a one-stop medical center established in 10 cities by President Duterte with Bong Go in a crucial role, fits exactly into the system.

Felongco said the approach has been unveiled in Manila on December 7 with at least 10 government agencies participating to include agencies under the Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Justice and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

 ‘TESDA unveiled a jobs fair, the DOH provided free medicine and consultation, the public attorney’s office gave consultation and notary services, the DA gave out seeds for urban gardening, the BFAR taught fish culture and the local government unit that hosted the event provided the venue and food, among other things,” he said.

 The signing of a memorandum of understanding with government agencies sealed the continuity of the program.

Felongco said the approach will be replicated in the regions where “the country’s top 40 most poverty-stricken provinces are located.” The regions also host the 10 poorest municipalities and the 10 poorest barangays.

With the reduction of poverty the ultimate goal, the program is determined to engage the participation of 14 basic sectors (urban poor, farmers, fisherfolk, labor and informal labor, workers and informal workers, women, persons with disabilities, victims of disasters and calamities, children, senior citizens, non-government organizations and cooperatives) in the country’s top 40 poverty-stricken provinces.

 “This is on instruction of President Duterte himself,” said Felongco, adding that the Sambayanihan or convergence approach will not leave out any province.

“We shall go to all provinces without exception to engage all 14 basic sectors that make up the majority of Philippine society,” he said.

Felongco said the approach is meant to capacitate or to show to the basic sectors how to engage government services in addressing the 10 basic needs that included food, water, shelter, work, health care, education, social protection, healthy environment, peace and participation in decision-making.

“The Duterte administration may look harsh against corruption and illegal drugs, but it has the concerns of the poor at heart, hence this continuing social reform program and poverty reduction activities,” said Felongco. (PR)

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