Press Release
January 23, 2019


Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the immediate passage of the proposed Magna Carta for the Poor that seeks to uplift the lives of indigent Filipinos by strengthening the government's anti-poverty programs and other socioeconomic development strategies.

"It is high time we come up with a comprehensive framework designed to improve the lives of the impoverished by providing them with sustained opportunities for growth and development," said Angara, one of the authors of a substitute bill that consolidated all Magna Carta for the Poor proposals in the Senate.

The committee report on the substitute bill--Senate Bill No. 2121--has been approved by three Senate panels, including the Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Angara.

The bill is now up for approval on second reading. According to Angara, the measure guarantees the rights of the poor to adequate food, decent work, free relevant and quality education, adequate housing, and highest attainable standard of health.

"Through the Magna Carta for the Poor, we will be having an area-based, sectoral and focused intervention to poverty alleviation where every poor Filipino must be empowered to meet the minimum basic needs through the partnership of the government and the basic sectors," the senator pointed out.

The measure is also vital for the Philippines to "comply with its international obligations to end poverty in all its forms, and ensure and promote the health and well-being of all," he added.

In 2015, poverty incidence among Filipinos was estimated at 26.3 percent, which translates to about 26.48 million people based on the country's population of 100.7 million at the time.

The subsistence incidence, or the proportion of Filipinos whose income fall below the food threshold, was estimated at 12.1 percent or about 12.18 million then.

The subsistence incidence rate indicates the proportion of Filipinos living in extreme poverty.

Based on the July 2015 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, despite the fastest economic growth enjoyed during the past few years, the poverty rate in the Philippines will still be high as the gap between the poor and the rich widens.

By 2019, it is projected that the country will remain one of Southeast Asia's poorest economies, with a lower level of gross domestic product per head than most of the region's major economies. A large number of Filipinos will continue to live in poverty, the report said.

The Magna Carta for the Poor, Angara said, will help address the problem through employment, feeding programs, housing, healthcare and education.

"Under the bill, all government agencies are mandated to formulate its own poverty reduction plan with utmost consideration to the fundamental rights of the poor," he explained.

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