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Caritas Manila welcomes new anti-poverty law

MANILA (CNS): “That’s what good government is all about, taking care of the poor and marginalised,” Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said in reaction to the passage of a law that aims to uplift the lives of poor people and address hunger in the Philippines.
 
The government announced on May 28 that the president, Rodrigo Duterte, had signed Republic Act 11291—dubbed the Magna Carta of the Poor into law, giving those struggling to make a living easier access to government services.
 
“We congratulate and support President Duterte 100 per cent in his bold signing of this Magna Carta for the Poor,” Father Pascual added.
 
Under the new law, the government is required to prioritise programmes for the poor that concern the provision of food, shelter, livelihood, education and health care. It mandates the government’s social welfare department and other agencies to identify beneficiaries of government programmes for poor people.
 
However, Father Pascual expressed concerns on how the law will be implemented, saying that time, resources and the efficiency of government agencies are “always a problem.”
He said, “We hope that the agencies of government have the time and resources to implement it.” 
 
The new initiative aims to help impoverished Filipinos meet their basic needs. It guarantees the rights of people to adequate food, decent work, relevant and quality education, housing and the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health.
 
Those whose income falls below the poverty line, as defined by the government’s National Economic and Development Authority, are also covered by the new law.
 
A survey by Social Weather Stations in the last quarter of 2018, revealed that about 11.6 million Filipino families considered themselves as being poor. The Philippines has a population of around 104.9 million.

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