CEBU, Philippines – Party-list group Trade Union Congress Party urged the government and the private sector to participate in the House deliberation of the proposed Magna Carta for the Poor.
TUCP Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza, chairman of the House committee on poverty alleviation, said the Magna Carta intends to “ensure better targeting of resources intended for the poorest of the poor.”
The Magna Carta identifies the basic rights of the poor which “the government shall, as a matter of duty and obligation, provide the requirements, conditions and opportunities.”
These basic rights include the right to food, the right to employment and livelihood, the right to quality education, the right to shelter and the right to basic health services and medicines.
The bill also states that the poor “shall have the right to avail of greater rights or benefits offered by existing laws.”
Mendoza stressed that the proposed measure is a complementary to Republic Act 8425 or the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act and the National Anti-Poverty Agenda of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).
Mendoza said the budget for anti-poverty programs should be included in the Magna Carta and complement the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
Mendoza noted that “the identification of the poor beneficiaries of the Magna Carta should be done through community-based participatory process as the most effective way of ensuring inclusiveness, a broader participation and a sense of ownership among all the stakeholders.”
He said that while the bill will give private firms tax rebates or tax deductions for participating in the program, it will also focus on the need to close tax loopholes that would otherwise give corporations double tax exemptions or double tax holidays. (FREEMAN)