MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday promised aid to the country's poorest families through rice subsidies, backed the full implementation of the Magna Carta for Women, and told informal settlers that they will not be evicted without proper relocation.
In his first State of the Nation Address, Duterte ordered the distribution of rice subsidies to the country's poorest families, saying he wants to build resiliency among poor families who are beneficiaries of the country's Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
Duterte said he has directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development to provide rice subsidies to the poorest of the families. "At least, para makakain lang. Every month, isang sako," he said.
He said he wants beneficiaries of the CCT program to become independent and self-reliant after they graduate from the program.
The President also reiterated that he will not allow demolition of informal settlers' houses unless there are relocation sites. "Hindi naman aso yan," he said.
He said that during his time as mayor of Davao, he would ask businessmen to provide additional funds for the relocation of informal settlers on purchased land.
"You have to mitigate the hardships of these people," he said.
"Provide relocation and I will be glad to tell the people: 'Go. The land is not yours.'"
He also urged power firm Meralco and other electric cooperatives to exercise corporate social responsibility and provide direct connections to depressed areas.
For the women sector, the President vowed to protect women's rights and urged all agencies, oversight bodies and local government units down to the barangay level to fully implement the Magna Carta for Women.
Duterte said the government has already issued ancestral domain certificates to indigenous peoples or the lumad sector covering large tracts of land in Mindanao.
He said there is also the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples that help the lumad.
"Make use of your ancestral domain. Do not let it remain idle. While the government is always ready to help you, you must first help yourself. We cannot legislate financial and economic progress for you. It is you and you alone who can do that. You can chart your fate but do it within constitutional and legal means," he said.
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