The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) commemorates this year’s National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty, themed “Answering the Call of October 17 to End Poverty: A Path Towards Peaceful and Inclusive Societies,” by strengthening this campaign under the call, “Kilos SAMBAYANAN Laban sa Kahirapan.”
Kilos SAMBAYANAN, or Kilos para sa Sampung Batayang Pangangailangan, is NAPC’s campaign for the fulfillment of the ‘10 basic needs’ of the Filipino people: food and land reform; water; shelter; work; education; health; social protection; healthy environment; peace; and participation.
This call highlights the need for convergence among the various sectors of society, within and outside of government, to build a mass movement against poverty in order to end it.
In particular, NAPC draws attention to the issues surrounding the most basic of needs – food – including the deprivation of the right to food for many Filipinos; the continuing lack of food security in the country; and the peasant struggle for genuine agrarian reform, which remains the bedrock policy for ensuring food security and one of the necessary structural reforms for reversing underdevelopment and inequality in the country.
Despite high economic growth in recent years, extreme poverty persists in the Philippines. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 8.23 million Filipinos are ‘subsistence poor’, or whose incomes are insufficient to buy even their basic food needs, and is part of the larger 21.93 million poor Filipinos in 2015.
Consequently, many Filipinos are deprived of basic needs that they should be enjoying as a matter of right. Philippine poverty is rooted in underdevelopment, or the backward state of agriculture and industry in the country, and in inequality, or the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few at the expense of the many.
The commemoration of NWOEP 2017 in the Philippines spearheaded by NAPC in collaboration with ATD Fourth World Philippines, people’s organizations, various government agencies, and institutions is designed to celebrate the people’s struggle and active participation of the basic sectors to fight extreme poverty.
From October 5 to 27, 2017, NAPC will hold a series of activities that highlight the conditions and struggles of the peasant and poor sectors, and secure commitments from stakeholders in support of the Kilos SAMBAYANAN campaign.
‘Kilos SAMBAYANAN caravan’ will be held in peasant and urban poor communities in Manila and Davao. NAPC will also organize fora and inter-agency dialogues for the communication and delivery of government programs and services to the poor. In order to advance the public discourse on land reform and sustainable agriculture, NAPC will host a forum-dialogue with peasant groups expected to be in Manila at this time.
Finally, NAPC will hold a roundtable discussion among civil society partners to launch its anti-poverty framework paper, which presents a comprehensive analysis of Philippine poverty and argues for a pro-poor development strategy as a long-term response.
Cultural events will also be held which include citizen’s photojournalism workshop-photowalk in San Jose del Monte and Pandi, Bulacan and Manggahan Floodway; arts workshop, photo mobile exhibit, Zumbayan health and wellness caravan, Sambayanan Walk, Musika’t Tulaan cultural night, and laying of commemorative stone in Anini-y, Antique.
Objectives of NWOEP Philippines 2017
- To promote public awareness of the persistence of poverty and extreme poverty in the Philippines, its roots and many dimensions, and the development strategy necessary to end poverty;
- To strengthen the Kilos SAMBAYANAN campaign and bring it closer to the poor and marginalized sectors of society, and raise awareness on the ‘10 basic needs’ as rights that should be guaranteed by the State for all Filipinos;
- To advance the public discourse and generate support for the people’s struggles on the right to food, food security, and land reform;
- To recognize and promote the efforts of the national and local governments for poverty reduction; and
- To foster convergence among the various sectors of society, within and outside of government, in support of Kilos SAMBAYANAN and towards building a mass movement in order to end poverty.
History of NWOEP
On 17 October 1987, over a hundred thousand people from all walks of life gathered at the Trocadero Plaza (now the Plaza of Human Rights and Liberties) in Paris, France, to honor the victims of extreme poverty, hunger, violence, and ignorance. They gathered upon the appeal of Father Joseph Wresinski, a French Catholic priest and founder of the All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World Movement. The assembly proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. These convictions were inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on that date.
Since then, people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and social origins have gathered every year on October 17 to renew their commitment and show their solidarity with the poor. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been unveiled around the world and served as a convergence point for the gatherings.
In appreciation of this initiative, the United Nations passed Resolution 47/196 on 22 December 1992 declaring 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), and invited all States to devote the Day in presenting and promoting, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities with regard to poverty eradication.
In response, then-President Fidel V. Ramos signed Proclamation No. 269 on 4 October 1993 declaring October 17 of every year as the National Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty. On 17 October 1993, President Ramos unveiled at Rizal Park a replica of the “Commemorative Stone in Honor of the Victims of Extreme Poverty.”
It has since become the site of the annual commemoration organized by the National Anti-Poverty Commission in partnership with ATD Fourth World Philippines, National Parks Development Council, and the City Government of Manila.
On 18 October 2004, then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 717 declaring the period of October 17 to 23 as the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty (NWOEP). The proclamation designated NAPC to lead, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the nationwide yearly observance of NWOEP in coordination with key partners and stakeholders in poverty reduction.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action by Fr. Joseph Wresinski and the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the United Nations.