Quantcast
Latest Stories

Aquino vetoes bill setting P3 trillion for poor

By

He could have signed it into law and scored brownie points. But without a P3.044-trillion budget to fulfill the basic needs of the poor right away, the government would have been haled to court.

This in essence was President Benigno Aquino III’s reason for vetoing the Magna Carta for the Poor, a measure that mandates the government to immediately provide homes, food, jobs, education and health care for the country’s 25 million poor.

Facing reporters, the President on Monday said that when the legislation was forwarded to his table for signing, he realized that the government did not have sufficient funds to immediately carry out even one of the five basic needs.

Mr. Aquino said that 5-million social housing units alone would cost the government P2.320 trillion, way more than this year’s P2.006-trillion national budget.

This year, the government could program only P600 billion for social housing and that doesn’t even include food, jobs, education and health services yet, he said.

“In other words, I could have played cute. I could have signed this into law, and earned brownie points, but I know the government wouldn’t be able to meet this,” Mr. Aquino told reporters after speaking at the anniversary celebration of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in Pasay City.

In the end, the head of the National Housing Authority would face charges in court from people whose homes have not been built, or for not paying the rent of beneficiaries pending the construction of their homes, the President said.

Lack of funds

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said providing for the key programs in each of the five basic rights would cost some P3.044 trillion.

“Keeping in mind that our 2013 budget comes to P2.006 trillion, that is way beyond our capacity to provide. That is why the President had the law vetoed and promised to substitute a more fiscally viable and practical version of the Magna Carta for the Poor,” Abad said in a text message.

Lawmakers had high hopes Mr. Aquino would enact this into law. Congress approved it in early February ahead of the start of the campaign period for the May 13 national elections.

‘Progressive realization’

After a review, the President said he discovered that the measure did not carry the phrase “progressive realization” of the poor’s rights, and this made all the difference.

This phrase is clearly enunciated in the International Covenant on Economic Culture and Social Rights, of which the Philippines is a signatory, he said.

The measure spells out the rights of the poor: right to food; right to employment and livelihood; right to quality education; right to shelter and right to basic health services and medicine.

And as part of its duty, the government would provide “the requirements, conditions and opportunities for the full enjoyment of these rights of the poor and which the poor can demand as a matter of right.”

‘Demandable’

“While reading it, we found out that the phrase ‘progressive realization’ wasn’t there. That means, we have to fully realize these rights of each of our countrymen living below the poverty threshold, which is estimated to be 26 percent of the 95 million Filipinos,” Mr. Aquino said.

The housing provision alone “is demandable” and has to be carried out immediately, he pointed out.

“If only they have put the ‘progressive realization’ in, which was in the covenant, we won’t have any problem here. But if I signed it, and we’re aware the government couldn’t accomplish it, then I’d be deceiving my bosses, and I can’t do that,” he said.

He could have signed it and delayed its implementation until the next administration comes in, but this would have been unfair.

“Our corrective action is that we’ve directed the Social Cluster to draw up a substitute measure that we will give to the next Congress, and hopefully, that they will act upon with haste,” he said.

The Magna Carta for the Poor was expected to institutionalize the government’s main antipoverty program, such as the conditional cash transfer.

The Magna Carta for the Poor describes the poor as those whose income falls below the poverty threshold defined by the National Economic and Development Authority, and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

The measure mandates the government to ensure adequate and decent employment and living wage for the basic sector workers, farmers-peasants, artisanal fisherfolk, and other indigents, among others.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Aquino Administration , Benigno Aquino III , Magna Carta for the Poor , Philippine Government , Poverty , social housing units




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Drilon denies involvement in pork scam
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Malang the croc must regain strength before return to swamp, says mayor
  • Palace: Lacson’s version of Napoles testimony to be evaluated
  • Scientists eye iceberg bigger than Guam
  • Sports

  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement