Womb-to-tomb benefits for poor

FORMER Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is batting for a package of measures meant to provide womb-to-tomb benefits for the nation’s poorest of the poor which constitute 20 percent of the population — one of every five Filipinos is dirt-poor.

“Fishermen, farmers, and children of the poor remain caught in the stranglehold of abject misery, eking out an existence on a scant P50 for their daily needs. We are a Christian nation and whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do that to God,” Estrada stressed.

Estrada points to the children of poor families “that are the most vulnerable sector, since daily hunger robs them of their quota of intellect that touches off learning disabilities and reduced capacity to gain competencies for work.”

Rather than craft piecemeal approaches for poverty reduction, Estrada said “a comprehensive, long-term strategy must be established as legislative agenda to bring down poverty to the irreducible minimum — this is what we seek to attain in the provision of womb-to-tomb benefits for the poorest of the poor.”

Added Estrada: “It is not enough that we provide money dole-outs, we must also have a survey of whatever skills that those in the poverty threshold possess— and we must use such skills for needful services to the community where the poor are. Indeed, we should create the opportunities in which we can employ the poor.”

He revealed that in any government office, “a daily average of 35 needy people would seek help, mostly money support for their sick, their dead, or their newborn or job recommendations — and an informal survey of such people would provide insights what lawmakers need to craft to help them out in the long-term.”