MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure that aims to provide mechanisms so that poor Filipinos could fully meet their basic needs.
Republic Act 11291 also known as the Magna Carta of the Poor, was signed on April 12, 2019, and requires departments and agencies of the government to provide "full access" to government services to the poor.
Under the new law, the poor shall be classified as persons whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and those who cannot afford their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, and housing.
It lays down procedure for the provision of requirements, conditions, and opportunities for the full enjoyment of basic needs.
Concerned government agencies are tasked to do the following to meet these certain rights:
1. RIGHT TO ADEQUATE FOOD
- Ensure the availability and sustainability of food supplies
- Proactively engage the poor in activities intended to promote self-sufficiency
2. RIGHT TO DECENT WORK
- Ensure access to information regarding job openings
- Ensure the compliance of private contractors and subcontractors doing national and local public work projects
- Promote livelihood among the poor
- Ensure compliance with core labor standards, address the job and skills mismatch, and provide training and education
3. RIGHT TO RELEVANT AND QUALITY EDUCATION
- Maintain a system of free public education in the kindergarten, elementary, and high school level.
- Make higher education accessible to all poor individuals
- Ensure access to quality technical-vocational education and training through scholarships, subsidies, and financial assistance.
4. RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING
- Prioritize the implementation of the socialized housing program with identified appropriate subsidies
- Immediately construct and provide housing facilities for families living in identified hazardous/danger zones, and in areas affected by disasters/calamities
- Create an enabling environment that will assist the poor to gain access to security of tenure with the least financial burden
- Provide a system for the speedy processing and approval of community-based socialized housing
5. RIGHT TO THE HIGHEST ATTAINABLE STANDARD OF HEALTH
- Ensure equitable access to a system of good quality health care
- Provide for comprehensive, universal, culture-sensitive, nondiscriminatory and gender-responsive health services
- Reduce the financial burden of health care and protection of the poor through a socialized health insurance program
- Provide health-related education and information to the community.
In the last quarter of 2018, half of the Filipino population, or 11.6 million families, considered themselves poor, according to a Social Weather Stations survey.