Social justice advocate sets countryside development agenda

May 3, 2013 11:46 pm 

MANILA, May 3 — 2013 senatorial aspirant Samson Alcantara (Social Justice Society political party) will expand his social justice advocacy by pushing for more sustainable countryside development-boosting legislation if elected this year.

He noted the Philippines needs such legislation to better balance development nationwide and address migration to urban areas.

"We must give incentives to those who will do business in the countryside," he said during State-run PTV 4's 'Paghahanda para sa Hatol ng Bayan' program for the 2013 mid-term polls.

Aside from helping boost the economy, he said such businesses will generate much-needed jobs for rural folk, he noted.

Figures former socio-economic planning chief Cielito Habito reported this year demonstrate extent of rural poverty in the country.

He said some 40 percent of rural families nationwide are poor while only about 12 percent of urban families are in the same state.

Poverty incidence remained at around 40 percent in Philippine rural areas since 1997 even if this already declined to some 12 percent from 15 percent in urban areas nationwide during the same period, he continued.

World Bank estimates also show rural areas nationwide hosted about 51 percent of the Philippine population in 2010.

National Statistics Office reported the country's 2010 population reached 92.34 million people.

Alcantara believes the Philippines can boost countrysidedevelopment as the country abounds in land-based natural resources which must be sustainably tapped for the purpose.

"The Philippines has one of the longest shorelines so we must develop our aquatic resources as well," he said.

Aside from countryside development-boosting legislation, Alcantara plans filing bills on increasing protection for workers, teachers and consumers nationwide.

"We'll be a failed country without social justice," he noted.

Alcantara also said pork barrel funds must be included in the budget of Congress itself, rather than released to each legislator, so authorized local public undertakings can be truly funded accordingly.

"I will likewise push for legislation against political dynasties," Alcantara continued.

Previous efforts to push for such legislation failed as about 70 percent of legislators belong to political dynasties, he noted.

He believes the anti-political dynasty bill will likely become a law soon.

"Public opinion on the matter is already strong so that'll pressure legislators into passing the bill – it'll be shameful not to," he said. (PNA)



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