With the current administration focused on achieving single-digit poverty level by the end of its term of office in 2028, it stands to reason that it should start accelerating the pace of delivery of programs for the disadvantaged and marginalized Filipinos.
A step in the right direction is the directive by the President to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to continue giving cash grants to poor households and individuals who are the most adversely affected by the rising prices of goods.
The cash grants coursed through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program are part of the government’s social protection initiatives aimed at reducing hunger and poverty in the country.
These will also help poor households to provide for their health needs and the education of their children.
At the recent anniversary of the DSWD on January 31, the President urged the agency to ensure their services should “reach those in need wherever they may be,” that people should not have to travel to urban areas to access government services.
The chief executive also asked the DSWD to enhance the social pension program for indigent senior citizens as a means to augment their daily subsistence and medical needs.
Reducing poverty and hunger is among key objectives of the national government as it seeks to achieve upper-middle-income status by 2025.
Yet another pro-poor initiative of the national government that deserves public support is the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) Project.
At the recent groundbreaking ceremony of the Batasan Development and Urban Renewal Plan, the President committed to secure the needed housing interest support this year to assist poor families get decent and affordable housing units.
This is in recognition of the fact that not all the beneficiaries of housing projects may be able to afford the monthly amortization for the units.
During the same occasion, the President told the audience he had reached an agreement with Secretary Jerry Acuzar of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to put up a subsidy fund for the government’s housing program with P1 billion seed money.
The success of the mass housing program will depend on the capability of the DHSUD to strengthen partnerships with other government agencies and the private sector.
Here, local governments play an important role as they will identify suitable lands for housing, select the qualified beneficiaries, and see to it that mass housing beneficiaries comply with requirements.
Providing cash assistance and subsidized housing to the poor and marginalized sectors will give them hope that a much better future awaits them than where they are now.