Romualdez vows fight vs Poverty

Martin Romualdez - New Ormoc Airport
NEW ORMOC AIRPORT. Strong candidate for Speakership and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez (far right) joins the inauguration of new Ormoc Airport in Ormoc City led by President Rodrigo Duterte (center back to camera ), with (from left) Sen. Bong Go, Presidential Adviser for the Visayas Sec. Michael Dino, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez. (Contributed photo)

IN order to help the Duterte administration win the war against poverty, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez has vowed to mobilize the 18th Congress for the crafting a roadmap addressing  poverty.

Romualdez said the roadmap must spell out the legislative measures and funding requirements needed to realize President Duterte’s vision of reducing poverty incidence by almost a half before his term ends in 2022.

“We are winning the war against criminality and terrorism. We are one of the fast-growing economies in Asia. It is time now to focus more on the President’s war against poverty,” Romualdez, who is one of the leading contenders in the Speakership race, said.

“The 18th Congress must step up to the plate. Lifting Filipinos out of poverty is the top priority of President Duterte in the next three years and we need everybody’s support for this mission,” he added.

Romualdez, president of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), noted that the President has succeeded in reducing poverty mid-term into office, but his programs and policies need to institutionalize to ensure poverty rate is cut down to just 14 percent by 2022.

“The numbers now are good. All poverty indicators are at all-time low. We just need to stay on course and make sure that all the programs and policies are in place for the next phase of the war against poverty,” he said.

Citing the latest survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Romualdez said that it is clearl that the number of Filipinos living below the poverty line was reduced in the first semester of 2018.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), this is because of improvements in the quality of employment in the past three years since the last poverty survey in 2015, as well as the expansion in government social services.

The PSA report said the nationwide poverty incidence fell to 21 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to 27.6 percent in the first half of 2015.

Romualdez said even self-rated poverty is down, with the number of Filipinos who considered themselves poor hitting a new record low of 38 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations.

The figure, which translates to some 9.5 million families, is 12 points below the 50 percent recorded in December 2018, and 4 points below the previous record low of 42 percent in September 2016 and March 2018.

Meanwhile, Romualdez  welcomed the proposal for President Duterte to sign an executive order (EO) creating a task force eradicating hunger in the country by 2030.

The creation of the Zero Hunger Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) was on the agenda tackled during the Cabinet meeting in Malacañan Palace on Monday night.

According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who presented the proposed EO, the new task force will formulate a national food policy to ensure the attainment of zero hunger and poverty eradication, consistent with the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan.

With Jezreel Biscocho