Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Magna Carta for Poor gets solons’ nod

By Maila Ager -

MANILA, Philippines -- A bill proposing Magna Carta for the Poor has been approved by a joint panel at the House of Representatives.

The committees on poverty alleviation, and on people’s participation jointly passed the measure aimed at reducing the number of “extremely” poor Filipinos and help them become economically empowered.

The bill, a substitute for four bills, also seeks to strengthen several social service programs for the underprivileged in order to protect and promote their rights to a decent life.

“For one, it aims to enhance the poor's right to employment by giving them preferential access to employment openings in private enterprises as well as in government programs and projects,” a statement from the House said Monday.

“Further, it seeks to create an Office of Employment Opportunities,” it said.

The proposed legislation, likewise, seeks to enhance the poor's right to food by giving them food or of food assistance/subsidy to help them in their survival.

It also seeks to strengthen the right to free quality education of underprivileged Filipinos by providing them access to quality education at the college level, and expanding the study-now-pay-later plans in state colleges and universities.

In terms of shelter for the poor, the bill proposes the implementation of a housing scheme to provide decent facilities to the poor with the least financial burden.

The bill further seeks to strengthen health and medical services for the poor through a system of free delivery of health services and medicines.

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