PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday ordered government agencies engaged in providing social services to assist the most needy in the country to employ the whole-of-government approach to address poverty.
During the first en banc meeting of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) at Malacañan Palace, the chief executive underscored the importance of coordination among the government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to combat the long-standing problem of poverty.
“I think it all comes down to the same thing…marami tayo, like the NAPC, is a dedicated organization agency to look at the incidents of poverty and what are the things that can be done,” the President said during the meeting which coincided with the 25th founding anniversary of NAPC.
Marcos said each government entity should know its functions and responsibilities to maximize the resources poured into helping indigents in communities.
“Now, we have to differentiate…kung ano ang trabaho ng NAPC, ano ang trabaho ng the rest of the government because sasabihin natin, will NAPC be the one to step up? For example now, mayroong in crisis situations. Ang nagde-deploy niyan is the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development). So, kailangan i-coordinate natin ‘yan. Tapos pagka jobs, DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), maraming ginagawa. Pati DOLE (Department of Labor and Employement), maraming ginagawa. Kailangan pagsama-samahin natin and that’s why we have to start at a baseline,” the President said.
“And we engage the other agencies. Huwag natin sasabihin, bigyan natin ng budget ‘yung NAPC, sila mag-implement niyan. Hindi n’yo trabaho ‘yun. Hindi natin trabaho ‘yun,” he added.
The President said it is also essential for NAPC to continue to engage residents of depressed communities to determine what is really needed in those areas.
“‘Yung mga ibang lugar na talagang hindi makabangon dahil wala, walang tulong, walang ano, walang kalsada, walang facilities, walang infrastructure. Identify natin ‘yun (mga lugar) para puntahan natin kung ano man ‘yung kailangan nila. Kulang sa FMR (farm-to-market road), walang internet, walang kuryente na maasahan, sa tubig. All of those things,” the President pointed out.
“So, those are the things, I think, that the NAPC should be doing. Hanapin natin kung saan talaga ‘yung problematic na area and then engage natin lahat ng ibang departamento para the other departments can come in,” he added, adding that there are already programs for a particular concern in a community.
Earlier during the meeting, NAPC lead convenor Lope Santos III told the President of the future plans and activities of the Commission conducted in the past months.
“When we assumed office (in) February this year, we immediately conducted the consultations with all members of NAPC, the leagues of LGUs, the national government agencies and the basic sectors and we immediately defined the urgent tasks at hand in accordance with the mandate of NAPC which is a coordinating and advisory body of the agency,” Santos said.
“We anchor this in the target defined in the Philippine Development Plan which is to reduce poverty from 18.1 percent to 8.8 to 9 percent. So, our urgent task, Mr. President, is to align all development plans (with the) Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 which constitutes the formulation and adoption of the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda and we expect to complete this, Mr. President, by September this year,” he added.
Santos said the adoption and formulation of the National Poverty Reduction Plan in accordance with the Magna Carta of the Poor will be completed by October this year.
“And we also plan to roll this out – the adoption and formulation of the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan starting 2024 to be mainstreamed in all provincial development and fiscal framework plans and comprehensive development plans of our local government units including in the respective annual investment plans,” he said.
Santos also said they have come up with the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda, which would be called N3A.
“Since February this year, we conducted a series of consultations and workshops for the formulation of this plan involving all NGAs (national government agencies), leagues of LGUs and the basic sector. The NAPC secretariat is currently integrating all inputs and the draft shall be presented for approval in the next en banc,” he said.
“N3A shall be aligned with the PDP 2023-2028 and focusing on the strategic direction and flagship programs to address multidimensional poverty concerns, social economic, ecological, and governance,” Santos added.
Among those who attended the first en banc meeting of the NAPC were DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Suharto Mangudadatu, and Secretary Carlito Galvez of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.