Press Release
January 29, 2019

Senate approves Magna Carta of the Poor

The Senate today passed on third and final reading a bill seeking to champion the cause of the poor and marginalized Filipinos.

Senate Bill No. 2121, authored by Sen. Leila de Lima, seeks to "assuage the ills that hamper the rise of the members of this society who have been left helpless for the longest time."

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, acting chair of the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Social Development in the absence of De Lima, said that under the Magna Carta of the Poor, government shall implement systems that will ensure that the poor has the right to adequate food and undertake necessary actions to mitigate and alleviate hunger especially in times of calamities or natural disasters.

The government shall also be tasked to fully implement and maintain supplementary feeding programs in day-care centers and schools, and ensure the availability, accessibility, and sustainability of food supplies in a quantity and quality sufficient to meet the daily dietary needs of poor individuals and families.

"With the help of non-government organizations and other partners, the government shall also proactively engage the poor in activities intended to promote their food self-sufficiency and strengthen their access to resources and means to ensure food security," Trillanes said.

The bill also puts in place measures that will provide the poor opportunity and means to obtain decent and productive employment, as well as the right to live in adequate housing that is decent, affordable, safe and culturally appropriate.

Most importantly, government shall provide a system that will ensure that the poor will have access to health facilities, goods and services.

Under the measure, government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA) and other pertinent agencies including the private sector, shall be tasked to guarantee that the rights of the poor to adequate food, decent work, free relevant and quality education, adequate housing, and highest attainable standard of health will be met.

"The state shall ensure that the welfare of the people will be the true measure of progress and stability on accord with sustainability and fiscal realities," Trillanes said.

"It is high time we heard the plea of the people," he added.

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