Escudero: Fight vs criminality a fight vs poverty
Instead of employing an iron fist, vice presidential bet Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the “Gobyernong may Puso” (Government with a Heart) will fight criminality and violence by tackling their root cause, which is poverty.
Escudero said radical measures. such as killing criminals and rebels, or extrajudicial executions, are not the solution to the peace and order problem in the country, particularly in Mindanao.
He said that as cliché as it may sound, the “best way to fight crime is to fight poverty,” which he and his presidential running mate, Senator Grace Poe, intend to do if they win in the coming elections.
“The root of criminality is poverty. The root of rebellion is poverty. Until and unless you address the problem of poverty, there will always be criminals, there will always be rebels,” Escudero said during his recent visit to Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur.
“Hangga’t may Pilipino na hindi mapakain ng tatlong beses ‘yung pamilya n’ya, hangga’t may Pilipino na hindi kayang mapagamot ‘yung mahal n’ya sa buhay, hangga’t may Pilipino na hindi mapag-aral ang lahat ng anak n’ya, palaging may kakapit sa patalim para gumawa ng krimen o umakyat sa bundok,” he added.
(As long as there’s a Filipino who can’t feed his family thrice a day, as long as there’s a Filipino who can’t provide healthcare to his family, as long as there’s a Filipino who can’t send his children to school, there will always be those swayed to commit crimes or join the rebellion.)
Escudero and Poe, who are both independent candidates, are running under the platforms of rapid and inclusive growth, poverty alleviation, transparency in government and global competitiveness.
If elected, the two promise to allocate at least P300 billion from the national budget for the agriculture sector that accounts for 60 percent of the nation’s poor; P600 billion for social services such as education, health, pension and housing; and P1 trillion for Mindanao, where some of the poorest provinces are located.
Escudero said fighting poverty will be at the center of the Poe administration’s policy.
If the government would have solid poverty reduction policies and programs, he said the recent Kidapawan tragedy, where three protesting farmers died while begging for food for their starving families, would not happen again.
“’Yung magsasaka na nagpapakain sa atin, walang makain. Ang hinihingi nila bigas, ang ibinigay ng gobyerno bala. Kung may papatayin tayo, dapat ang patayin natin ay gutom at hindi ‘yung gutom. Kung may papatayin tayo dapat ‘yun ay ang kahirapan, huwag ang mahirap,” he further said.
(Our farmers have nothing to eat. They were asking for rice, but the government fired at them. If we are going to kill, let’s kill hunger and not the hungry. If we are going to kill, let’s kill poverty and not the poor.) IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.