Welcome Remarks of NAPC Secretary and Lead Convenor Noel K. Felongco during the Forum on Poverty Reduction with Local Chief Executives at Ace Hotel and Suites

This was delivered by Mr. Cristopher Sabal, Media Affairs and Public Relations Unit Head on behalf of the good Secretary Felongco.

(SALUTATIONS)

To all our Local Chief Executives and representatives present, my colleagues in the government, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant day!

In as much as our Good Secretary Noel K. Felongco wanted to attend this significant forum, unfortunately he has previously committed to attend an equally important Regional Sectoral Assembly in Cebu City.

On behalf of the Good Secretary Noel K. Felongco, I warmly welcome everyone to this Forum on Poverty Reduction with Local Chief Executives!

The National Anti-Poverty Commission acknowledges the important role of our local executives in the fight against poverty, thus we exert all efforts to convene all of you here today. We believe that it is important to get the buy in of all stakeholders, most importantly our Local government executives, for our Poverty reduction plan to be effective. Our local executives are the ones who know the landscape and who are immersed with our poor people. You are our frontliners in this very important fight.

Our President is very clear about his vision, which is embodied in the Ambisyon 2040, he wants to eradicate poverty. In his short term goal, President Duterte gave his marching order to all of us, bring down the poverty incidence to 14% by 2022. As it sits right now, the poverty incidence in the country as of the latest 1st semester of 2018 is at 21%. We have to doubly work hard if we want to meet that goal as we only have more than 2 years to work on this. We need to craft significant and targeted Poverty Reduction plan from the bottom (Local) to up (National), since the realities of poverty is really happening at the baranggay level and if we look at the magnitude and concentration of poverty incidence, it is from the rural area.

The Third Quarter 2019 Self-Rated Poverty Social Weather Survey says that 5.6% or about 1.4 million Filipino families are newly poor; while 5.4% or around 1.3 million Filipino families used to be non-poor for five or more years ago and 30.7% or an estimated 7.6 million Filipino families have considered themselves as always poor, which has been a big chunk of the 42% or about 10.3 million Filipino families have considered themselves poor.

It is heart-wrenching to know that a quarter of the Filipino families have been shackled by intergenerational poverty and their miserable state of living is manifested in ancient Filipino saying, “ Ipinanganak kang mahirap, mamamatay kang mahirap.”

Secretary Felongco is urging the LGUs to take necessary steps to consult their constituencies and engage them in a meaningful and participatory discussion, you will be surprised by how aware and rich the learnings you can gain from this meaningful dialogue. The Province of Bukidnon and some provinces and municipalities are already doing this. We have to put the poor at the center of our poverty reduction plans, they know what the problems are and they are the best resource for solutions.

The National Anti-Poverty Commission is proposing convergence mechanisms that you can implement in your respective jurisdictions. The Provincial Consultative Bodies (PCBs) is a great avenue for dialogues and convergence in crafting your own Local Poverty Reduction Action Plans as required by the newly passed Magna Carta of the Poor law. Rest assured that NAPC will be very much willing to assist you in this endeavour.

Attaining a 7.6% poverty reduction or lifting about 6 Million Filipinos out of poverty by 2022 and making our nation poverty free by 2014; seems an insurmountable goal yet I strongly believe that we can all achieve this if we set aside our egos and really work together and unify all our efforts.. Our beloved president as well as the national government agencies including NAPC need each and everyone’s inclusive participation in our country’s crusade against poverty.

Our Legislative Bodies of the government have passed plenty of Laws to address this seemingly perennial problem of poverty, just recently the 4Ps program has been institutionalized into a law, we also have the Universal Health Law, the Free tertiary education law and the Magna Carta of the Poor Law. Now the ball is in our court, we need to strengthen our coordination, Planning, Program implementation and monitoring from the local level if we want to make a dent in the poverty incidence of the country.

(Closing)
As I end, I would like to reiterate 3 things:
You our dear Local Executives, matter, your role is very critical and you are an essential piece in the puzzle.
the National Anti-Poverty Commission will be behind you and will support you in any way we can in your own fight against poverty.

Your Poor Constituencies are your best resource, in identifying their problems, in creating Action Plans, in monitoring and evaluating the success of your programs. Once they feel that you nvolve and engage them, they will be your best advocates and they will take care of you.
Again, maraming salamat po sa inyong presensya at naway maging daan ito upang maipagpatuloy natin ang ating ugnayan at bayanihan laban sa kahirapan.

Mabuhay po tayong lahat!