The Duterte administration commits to reduce poverty incidents in the country by half after six years, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. said, during the first provincial convention of the Kilusang Pagbabago (Movement for Change)-Negros in Bacolod City Saturday.
The poverty index is 27 percent in the Philippines, the highest in the ASEAN, he said during the assembly attended by about 500 participants from the Visayas and Mindnao at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, where he was keynote speaker.
Evasco said he was tasked by the President to handle the anti-poverty initiative of his administration. He said 12 key agencies have been placed under the supervision of his office in order to streamline government’s intervention in poverty reduction.
He said he cannot mirco-manage all these agencies. All he has to do is streamline and give policy intervention so that their programs or projects would really address poverty among the people.
This is Duterte’s campaign promise to ensure that all Filipinos live with security, not just physical, but above all security that covers all facets of human life such as housing food, jobs, livelihood, and financial security, he said.
Evasco, a former rebel-priest, leads the thrust of the administration for the organization of the KP chapters down to the barangay level.
Meanwhile, Evasco said he was mandated to ensure that all key government agencies sing the same tune in terms of insuring poverty reduction, especially in key marginalized sectors – the farmers, agricultural workers, woman, the youth and the like.
As former mayors, he and Duterte know that any local official is only as good as their last term, Evasco said.
“Some would cite this as our handicap but this is a challenge to all of us to make change that must be felt on the ground in the six years that this administration would serve,” he said.
Evasco said they will call for a summit that will craft the social development agenda for this administration on August 17 to 18 in Davao.
The vision of the administration for the Philippines is that it will be a country where all citizens are free from hunger and poverty, he said.
Evasco also led the oath taking of the KP-Negros at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Saturday that was attended by Agriculture Secretary for the Visayas Hansel Didulo, KP-Negros head Archie Baribar and executive committee member Aaron Sorbito.
The movement will be the partner of the Duterte administration in pursuit of its five-pronged agenda, namely: fight against drugs and criminality; fight against corruption in all levels of government; alleviation of poverty in the countryside; promotion of peace process; and promotion of the shift towards a federal form of government.
Evasco said the President has also promised to rid the country of drugs.
“Recently, we saw a lot of people killed in the process of neutralizing people behind the drug trade. We also read in the newspapers the number of surrenderees throughout the country which, as of this date, is about 700,000. In fact, there will be more people who will get killed if they resist arrest,” he said.
Ten years from now, if this had not been done by our President all children’ will be addicts and their brains will be destroyed. For those who advocate human rights, your advocacy for human rights this time is really unpopular, Evasco said.
Evasco said the President is also finding ways to make rich people pay taxes. And if it had been found out that they are not paying taxes, they should not be given permit to travel abroad.
Duterte has also ordered his Cabinet secretaries and government officials to live a simple lifestyle and not to engage in corrupt practices, he said
They will also revive the Bottoms Up Budgeting program and call it Biyaya sa Pagbabago, Evasco said.
Evasco said they will only advocate the concept of federalism. Let Congress decide and discuss its aspects. It can be a potent breeding ground for war lords so we have to educate the people, he said.*CGS
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