CEBU CITY—The principal author of the Magna Carta for the Poor deplored the move of President Aquino to veto what would have been a landmark law that would go beyond symbolism in the government’s commitment to the poor.
“The magna carta has set aside a concrete framework for the administration’s program for the poor; it would have been a strong signal that the government is seriously addressing concerns of those who have less in life, not the posturing or rhetoric but with a specific law,” said Rep. Rachel Marguerite del Mar of Cebu City’s north district.
In a statement sent to Inquirer on Sunday, Del Mar said that contrary to what some advisers of President Aquino may think, the magna carta was not a demand to put everything in place now “in the first year or even the next decade after its passage.”
Del Mar said that the veto missed an opportunity to reassure the nation that the Aquino administration is serious about fighting poverty consistent with the President’s action.
Last March 25, President Aquino vetoed the Magna Cara of the Poor that would have mandated the government to provide homes, food, jobs, education and health care to the country’s 25 million poor.
Aquino pointed out that 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.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the government should consider allocating funds for the new magna carta similar to the fixed cuts of local government units under the internal revenue allotment.
Salceda, an economic adviser of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, suggested that the Aquino administration earmark as much as three percent of the country’s economic output as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP). This means that based on the country’s GDP in 2011 of P10.7 trillion, the poor should get at least P321 billion from the annual budget.—Connie E. Fernandez, Inquirer Visayas and Gil Cabacungan