Magna Carta of Poor bill, a cosmetic measure — solon

A  FARMER lawmaker said House Bill 4484 or the Magna Carta of the Poor approved on second reading by the House of Representatives is a measure that ‘justifies poverty.’

“The bill conveniently sugarcoats the government’s inefficiency in providing a decent, quality life for the people. HB 4484 is a cosmetic measure that aims to cover the chronic flaws in the social system,” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said.

All anti-poverty measures that do not include genuine land reform and national industrialization as strategic and long-term solutions to poverty will remain as a tools for the perpetuation of poverty,” he said.

“The nature of the bill is only to ‘protect the rights’ of the poor and not to resolve and eradicate widespread poverty. HB 4484 does not address or even recognize the root causes of prevailing poverty and social inequality in the country – landlessness, backward agrarian economy, absence of real industries and unequal division of wealth among social classes,” said Mariano.

HB 4484 states that the poor can demand full enjoyment of the following: the right to food, employment and livelihood, relevant and quality education, shelter and basic health services and medicines. “These are inherent, Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of all people. It is the obligation of the state to ensure that all Filipinos enjoy these rights at all times,” Mariano said.

“The supposed aim of the bill is to uplift the standard and quality of life of the poor but it also strengthens ‘dole-out mentality’ through provision of food subsidies and other assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),” Mariano said.

“Poverty in the Philippines is a result of the systemic, chronic crisis. The government must do better than to pity the poor. We must show the people the real way out of poverty,” Mariano said.

Based on the poverty threshold set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), only about one in every four Filipinos or 25.1 percent is considered poor.

“That is the ‘classification of poor’ set by government standards. But in reality, more than 90 percent of the country’s population live in poverty based on social and economic and political indicators,” the solon said.

“Majority of the population are poor, landless farmers toiling in the countryside.”

“Despite the government’s ‘economic growth,’ the social divide between rich and poor continue to grow. The wealth of 40 richest Filipinos increased over $13 billion to $47.4 billion this year accounting for 76 percent of the total wealth. The rest of the 92 million Filipinos share the remaining 24 percent.”

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