Poverty is Poe govt's arch foe: Chiz

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - "Public enemy number one" is how vice-presidential candidate Senator Francis ''Chiz'' Escudero dubbed poverty on Sunday, vowing to anchor the mission of a Poe-Escudero government in lifting every Filipino from destitution.

"Habang mayroon pong pamilya na hindi kayang ipagamot ang kanilang mahal sa buhay, palagi pong may kakapit sa patalim, palagi pong may gagawa ng krimen at palagi pong may aakyat sa bundok," Escudero said in ABS-CBN's "Harapan ng Bise".

"Layunin po naming tugunan ang ugat ng problema. Sa gobyernong may puso, ang kalaban po namin, kahirapan; public enemy number one po namin yan."

He outlined the programs that his tandem with Senator Grace Poe will push to address this problem.

Escudero said that their "Gobyernong May Puso" will set aside 10 percent of the national budget or 300 billion pesos to fund programs for farmers and fishermen, who are among the nation's poorest.

Another 30 percent of national funds or P1 trillion, he said, will be allocated to turn Mindanao from "the promised land into a land of fulfillment".

The independent candidate also promised to promote a big chunk of the budget for the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

He set they will also spend P 12.4 billion for free tuition in state colleges and universities, and P 4.4 billion for free irrigation.

Escudero also stressed that these expenses are investments which will benefit every sector.

"Sabi po nila, masyado kaming magastos sa Gobyernong may Puso. Hindi po gastos ang tingin namin dito. Ito po ay investment -- investment sa ating kabataan, investment sa kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan, investment sa kalusugan ng ating OFWs, investment sa kalusugan ng ating mga magsasaka. At kapag pinababa po namin ang ating buwis, investment din po ito sa ating mga manggagawa," he said.