Kadamay cites poor’s ‘hopeless’ plight under Aquino

AFTER getting poor marks from the United Nations, an urban poor group questioned the sincerity of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in addressing the worsening poverty in the country.

“As the number of poor Filipinos rises every year, we believe that Aquino is not doing anything real to address the issue,” said Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in a statement released to media Sunday.

“The poor’s plight is hopeless under Aquino. In the past two years, the Aquino administration has been barking at the wrong tree in its fight against poverty,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national secretary-general.

In a recent UN report, the Philippines received failing marks in four of the seven Millennium Development Goals (MDG) adopted by UN member countries in 2000. UN said that the Philippines was years behind in eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality and sustaining maternal health.

Arellano said that behind the government’s failing marks is the Aquino and the past administrations’ failure to implement a genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization which Kadamay cited as the real solutions to address the widespread poverty in the country.

According to Kadamay, the Aquino administration has not created real jobs for the poor, and won’t be creating real jobs within the three years left before the 2015 deadline to meet the MDG goals because of neo-liberal policies that inhibit national industrialization in the country.

Such polices have also pushed social services that should have catered the needs of the poor into a deteriorating state, the group claimed.

“Aquino has completely turned its back on programs that will have lasting and significant effects in addressing the widespread joblessness, hunger and poverty,” she added.

The militant urban poor group also slammed the effectiveness of Aquino’s primary anti-poverty measure, the Conditional Cash Tranfer (CCT) program, as it calls for the immediate realignment of its fund to programs that will provide social services to the poor.

From P39.5 billion in 2012, CCT’s budget allocation has risen to P44 billion in 2013. “Such big chunk of taxpayer’s fund could have easily created domestic industries to initially secure regular employment to the 10.9 Filipinos who are jobless,” said Arellano.

Meanwhile, the government will still have to device an effective exit strategy from CCT for the millions of poor beneficiaries that it has turned into an army of mendicants, according to the leader. “A burden that it would pass on to the succeeding administration to resolve,” she stressed.

Finally, the militant group warned Aquino of an impending social unrest as he keeps his eyes closed on the poverty situation in the country.

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