Group to work on institutionalization of charter for the poor

April 25, 2013 10:53 am 

MANILA, April 24 — Neophyte 1-Abilidad party list group has committed to push for institutionalization of a charter promoting marginalized people's access to basic rights and government services to help alleviate their plight and improve their lives.

"We'll sponsor a bill on the matter if we win in this year's elections," 1-Abilidad's Manny Luna said during State-run PTV 4's 'Paghahanda para sa Hatol ng Bayan' program for the 2013 mid-term polls.

The group sees urgency in enacting a legislation instituting the target charter as National Statistical Coordination Board reported the country's poverty situation "remained unchanged" with no "statistically significant" computed difference in poverty incidence among population nationwide during the first semesters of 2012 (27.9 percent), 2009 (28.6 percent) and 2006 (28.8 percent).

Luna gave the assurance after Malacanang vetoed last month the proposed Magna Carta of the Poor after finding several of this proposed law's provisions unrealistic for requiring resources government can't meet.

Such charter seeks guaranteeing, as a matter of right, the poor's access to food, employment, livelihood, education, shelter and other basic health services.

Social welfare chief Corazon Soliman justified the veto by saying Malacanang can't give the poor false hope since government lacks resources to support the proposed charter.

Reports earlier pointed out the vetoed proposal's shelter provisions alone already require funds exceeding government's PhP2 trillion total budget for 2013.

Luna said 1-Abilidad is sad about the veto since this group supported the proposed charter's development and passage.

"We understand the reason behind Malacanang's move, " he clarified.

He said 1-Abilidad will push for funding to support provisions under its proposed version of the vetoed Magna Carta.

Earlier, Malacanang ordered the Cabinet's human and social development clusters to develop a substitute Magna Carta of the Poor bill for endorsement to the 16th Congress.

Soliman said Malacanang tasked the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Economic Development Authority to spearhead the work.

"The proposed measure will clearly define progressive implementation of the Magna Carta as well as the fund sources," she said.

1-Abilidad is backing Malacanang's thrust towards progressive implementation of the measure.

"Such strategy's correct since the measure will require significant funds," Luna said.

Malacanang will file the substitute bill during the forthcoming 16th Congress' first week.

The 16th Congress will commence this July.

Luna said urban poor representatives formed 1-Abilidad, a Metro Manila-based group, to help enhance the sector's capability for breaking out of poverty.

Aside from pushing for the proposed Magna Carta law's enactment, he said 1-Abilidad earlier decided working on other legislations that will generate more jobs and other life-enhancing opportunities for the poor.

"We'll complement what government is doing for the sector," he said.

He said 1-Abilidad also decided sponsoring a bill covering protocols for demolishing informal settlements to avoid violence during such activities.

"We support government's thrust towards clearing such settlements but also believe in people's right to decent living," he noted.

For its 2013 election campaign, Luna said 1-Abilidad depends on contributions from this group's members and supporters.

He acknowledged that campaigning is difficult since 1-Abilidad lack funds for the purpose.

"There's no turning back, however," he said. "What we're conducting is a national campaign needing big funding. We already realized this from the start but Filipinos are naturally talented and this trait must be enhanced. Our hope is to help make this happen by being given a chance to serve in Congress." (PNA)

FPV/LOR/CJT

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