Bongbong Marcos OKs institutionalization of social protection programs
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved the social protection floor (SPF) recommendation, which seeks to institutionalize the government’s development programs for the most vulnerable Filipinos.
National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan announced this on Thursday after the agency’s Board, headed by Marcos, held a meeting.
He explained that the SPF is “nationally defined set of basic social security guarantees” that aims to “prevent or alleviate poverty vulnerability and social exclusion.”
“The guarantees should ensure that, at a minimum, everyone in need has access to essential healthcare and basic social services. These guarantees work together to provide effective access to goods and services that are defined as necessary at the national level,” Balisacan said in a press briefing.
Balisacan said the SPF consists of four basic guarantees that cover the entire life cycle: health, including maternity care; children, active age, and older persons.
He said the approval of the government SPF was a “significant progress in our country’s development history.”
“This is a manifestation of the government’s commitment to significantly reduce poverty incidence and promote inclusive growth,” the Neda chief said.
He also explained that the government wants to institutionalize the existing government programs so that it doesn’t have to “restart all over again when there is a need to provide support to vulnerable groups.”
“That’s the basic concept there that we reduce the risk faced by vulnerable groups so that they don’t fall into poverty, so that children don’t become victims of lack of learning that can be exacerbated by exposures to shocks like climate change, supply disruptions particularly those affecting food, inflation, loss of jobs by their parents. So we want to ensure that, you know, these children are protected from those shocks so that the society as a whole can progress,” Balisacan said.
The Philippines, he said, is a country that is very much exposed to a lot of risks, such as climate change risk, noting the administration wants to make sure that when the vulnerable members of society are exposed to those risks, they do not fall into poverty.