BAGUIO CITY (Dec. 15) — The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and the Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (Ornus), an urban poor group here agreed that anti-poverty programs of the government failed to improve the lives of Filipino families.
NAPC Secretary Domingo Panganiban in a press conference admitted that poverty alleviation programs of the government in the past were “hit and miss” solutions because of the lack of enough information and understanding of the particularity of cases of poverty in the different municipalities of the country. He explained that poverty incidence in the urban area is different from the rural area.
Panganiban added that in order to address poverty, NAPC in coordination with local government units (LGU) would conduct data gathering to identify who, how many and where are the poor families in different municipalities all over the country. He also said that the different LGUs would be the ones to distinguish through their own yardstick who are poor and who are not in their respective territories.
“With a data base and monitoring structure it would be easier to draw up plans for poverty alleviation programs suitable to the different needs of poor families in different areas of the country,” Panganiban said.
Geraldine Cacho of Ornus agreed that poverty alleviation programs of the government do not suit the needs of the poor. However, she stressed that a family is considered poor if it is deprived of any of the basic needs.
“Basic needs are not limited to food, shelter and clothing it also include basic social services like education and health. You are living decently if you can afford to send your children to school without borrowing money and if you can buy medicine for common illnesses,” Cacho stressed.
Cacho further said that employment is another need especially for the urban poor. She explained that lack or absence of regular decent paying jobs created the urban poor sector.
Moreover, Cacho said the government should support and improve the agriculture industry and develop the industrial sector of the country to eradicate poverty in the country. She explained that if the agriculture industry were well developed people from the countryside would not swarm the urban centers in search for jobs and if the industrial sector were developed people in the urban centers would have enough jobs.
“The government should focus on developing our agriculture and industrial production for our own needs and not for foreign demands. This is a long term as well as short-term solution to poverty. All it takes is political will,” she ended. # Kim Quitasol for NORDIS