MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has appealed to Congress to pass measures that will help government lift 6 million Filipinos out poverty.
Citing the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Duterte said poverty incidence fell from 27.6 percent in the first half of 2015 to 21 percent in the first half of 2018.
However, the government’s challenge now is to lift some 6 million poor Filipinos out of poverty by the end of his term in 2022.
“The most important number, though, is the 6 million Filipinos we need to pull out from poverty. Kindly help me on this,” Duterte told Congress in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 22).
While government has pursued tax reforms to fund its poverty reduction programs, he asked Congress to also pass the remaining packages of the tax reform program.
“I, therefore, implore Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, or the Trabaho bill, which shall gradually lower the income — corporate income tax, and rationalize and improve fiscal incentives,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the Trabaho bill would energize micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), encourage them to expand their business to generate 1.4 million jobs in the coming years
Duterte also asked Congress to approve a new version of the Salary Standardization Law to include teachers.
“Ngayon na (It has to be now) And to the teachers, alam mo dito (you know, here) who toil and work tirelessly to educate our young,” Duterte said.
He also urged Congress to review and pass the Government Rightsizing Bill to reconfigure the existing Metro Manila-centric bureaucracy; streamline government systems in order to deliver services without delay and within a short timeline.
Meanwhile, he encouraged them to hasten the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) to focus on the natural hazards and climate change, which he described as “poverty creators.”
On April 12, Duterte signed into law the Magna Carta of the Poor (RA 11291), which is meant to uplift the standard of living and quality of life of impoverished Filipinos.
Five days later, Duterte also signed into law an act institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the national poverty reduction strategy and human capital investment program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households for a maximum period of seven years to improve the health, nutrition, and education aspects of their lives.
Send them to jail
Duterte acknowledged that corruption still exists in the government thus encouraged Congress to investigate departments or officials involved in the practice and send them to jail.
”As I said, corruption is everywhere. You are free to investigate. I don’t take offense. If there is anything wrong in my department, the Executive, you are free to open the investigation anytime,” Duterte said.
“You do not have to call me. Call the idiots, expose them, and send them to jail. You are helping me. Do not be… I am not… I’ve been a prosecutor. I know how it works. Feel free. Feel free to expose anything that is not in accordance with law,” he added. (PNA)