Govt insensitive to poor – UNA

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THE camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday scored the government for being “insensitive” to the plight of the poor following a statement by the head of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) that the country should be “happy” having 26 million poor people.

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“Only an administration that is insensitive to the poor will say this with a straight face,” United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) campaign communications director Joey Salgado said.

Salgado also chided the government for its “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” mantra which he claimed had been proven to be a lie by statistics.

“Anong gobyerno ang matutuwa na 26 na milyong mamamayan ang naghihirap? Anong pangulo ang matutuwa na mahigit milyon sa kanila ay naghihikahos (What government would be happy if 26 million of its citizens are poor? What kind of leader would be glad if millions are suffering)?” he asked.

According to Salgado, the next six years will not see an improvement in poverty data if the next leaders of the country will be indifferent to the plight of the poor.

“Asahan natin na walang pagbabago at malamang ay may paglala pa ng kabuhayan ng mahihirap kung ang susunod na pangulo ay hindi nakatikim ng kahirapan at sa buong buhay ay hindi nakaranas ng gutom (There will be no change and perhaps the situation will worsen if the next president has experienced a difficult life and throughout his life has not known hunger),” he pointed out.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicated that 26.3 percent or around 26.48 million Filipinos were living below the poverty line.

Eleven of the 20 poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao, led by Lanao del Sur at 74.3 percent poverty incidence, the agency added.

Salgado said a Binay presidency will not only implement nationwide the pro-poor programs and services he had done in Makati City but also pursue reforms to address poverty.

Binay, he added, will implement four priority programs during his first year in office—abolishing income taxes for workers earning P30,000 a month or less; continuing and expanding the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); free books, uniforms, and school supplies for public school students; and free healthcare for the poor.

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  1. The four priority programs that the VP will implement, once he is elected, are not clear because there were no drawn parameters. How would he defines poor? Are all students attending public schools are poor? will all of them be eligible for free books, uniforms, and school supplies? What income brackets are eligible for free healthcare? If these questions cannot be defined realistically, it will be just another promise from a politician that wanted to be elected.

    It put a smile on my face every time I hear these politicians promise to help the poor when they get elected in office, and frown, when it comes from Binay. Around 80% of the population is poor, so where are they going to draw the line? School teachers, enlisted soldiers, lower ranking police officers, civil servants, are still classified as poor.