Maceda: Only more jobs can ease poverty

Ernesto Maceda FILE PHOTO

Ernesto Maceda FILE PHOTO

THE failure of the government to provide employment to about four million jobless Filipinos nationwide is the reason why the incidence of poverty in the country remains high and unless it is addressed the number will continue to grow up.
Former senate president Ernesto Maceda said that the government must adopt programs that increase government hiring instead of relying so much on foreign and local companies investing in the country.

To do this, he said, the present administration must increase the budgets of various government agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of the Education (DepEd), Department of Health and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in order for them to hire more personnel.

Maceda, a senatorial candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, said the DPWH budget should be increased to P700 billion from its current P152.4 billion, in order to implement more infrastructure projects which would demand more workers.

Malacañang should also listen to the request of DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro and hire an additional 100,000 teachers; the need of the Philippine National Police to enlist additional 50,000 policemen, and employ 44,000 more nurses and assign one nurse for every barangay.

Senior citizens should also be given monthly pension not lower than P1,400 a month similar to the conditional cash transfer program (CCT) for the poorest of the poor.

The government should also increase its small business loan program to cover at least one million applicants who want to start their own business.

“Unless and until the joblessness is addressed the incidents of poverty will continue to grow,” Maceda said in an interview with The Manila Times.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in its report indicated the poverty incidence under the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd is the same as the previous administration under Gloria Arroyo.

San Juan Rep. Jose Victor Ejercito Estrada for his part said that the NSBC report shows the real situation of the country under the first half of the Aquino administration and it should serve as a wake up call for the government to re-think its poverty alleviation programs.

“The report emphasized the need for the government to focus on real issues the country is facing wherein the rich are becoming more richer while the poor poorer,” Estrada said in a text message to The Times.

Estrada, one of the strongest senatorial candidates of the UNA, said that the government must make sure that so called economic growth being experienced by the country should not only be printed in newspapers but also be felt by the common people.

Another UNA bet, Rep. Milag­ros Magsaysay, said that the government must reevaluate its strategies in curbing poverty because it is clear that its current methods have hardly made a dent in the living conditions of the country’s poor.

“The NSCB is a government office yet it could not deny the fact that President Aquino has failed to improve the lives of the poor during the first three years of his term. The income of almost 28 percent of the Filipino population remains to fall below the poverty line, which is a minor improvement from data from 2006 and 2009.”

She added that instead of pointing fingers on who are to blame, the President should order his people to find better means to address the issues that factor in the country’s poverty problem.

Root cause
The unchanged poverty incidence in the country which traces its roots in 2006 is due to population growth, Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.

Drilon, a stalwart of the Liberal Party, made the argument a day after the government agency National Statistics and Coordination Board announced that one out of four Filipinos, or 27.8 percent are poor, almost the same level as in 2006 (26 percent) and 2009 (28 percent).

“You forget that our population increased from 2006 to 2013, and poverty has dipped, even a bit. That means we are successful in alleviating poverty when you compare it to six or seven years ago,” said Drilon

Drilon noted that the Aquino administration is keen on abating poverty by increasing the national budget for social services such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program, earmarking P25 billion for PhilHealth and funneling P40 billion for the National Housing program.

The passage of the sin tax law which imposes higher taxes on tobacco and liquor products, Drilon said, would also pave the way the effective implementation of the Universal Healthcare Program.

“The reduction of poverty takes time. We are willing to face UNA and other critics with regards to the capacity of this government to govern properly and honestly, and what it has achieved in terms of ethical leadership and poverty alleviation,” Drilon added in closing, referring to opposition UNA.

Even Sen. Antonio Trillanes, a member of the LP-led collation, expressed belief that the reported economic growth of the country should result in the creation of more jobs and the government is the one the should make it happen.

According to him the only way to help lessen poverty incidence is by giving people their source of livelihood through job generation brought by the sound economic growth of the country.

No benefit
Meanwhile, Two Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday said the economic gains of the country still don’t benefit the poor sector.
Cubao Bishop Ongtioco believed the results of the recent survey on poverty prevalence the rich people gets richer.

“Only people in upper bracket are benefiting,” the prelate said.

For his part, Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said the growth economically doesn’t trickle down to the disadvantaged individuals.

“All the so-called economic gains in the past six years benefited only the rich,” Bastes said.

Both bishops agreed that the results of the recent survey are evident reality in the society.

“My personal assessment is poverty incidence is still the same though economy has improved,” Ongtioco said.

“It seems to be true because I feel no improvement for our poor people,” Bastes added.



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