[Press Release] GCAP State of Poverty Address

GCAP State of Poverty Address

NO ONE SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND! WALANG IWANAN! This is the cry of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty around the world. In the Philippines, poverty is still very high and it is lagging behind the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) target to eradicate poverty. WALANG IWANAN! is GCAP Philippines’ demand from the government to constantly take heed of the urgency of improving the situation of the poor and marginalised sectors of society.

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GCAP Philippines aims to spread awareness and mobilize people to take action on the situation of poverty in the country. Even if the targets of the government look good, we need to ensure that these come from the grassroots, reflecting their real situation. This is why the State of Poverty Address is a timely event not only for the SONA of PNoy, but also in time for the MDGs to end in 2015, and the processes that are happening now to finalize the new Sustainable Development Goals. We need to put the link between the different layers of actors that have a stake in the whole development sphere, putting the grassroots issues forward, and not behind.

According to Erning Ofracio of Aktib and GCAP Executive Committee Member, “despite government reports of economic increase (GDP growth), poverty remains high mainly due to high unemployment, weak investment climate, high income inequality, corrupt administration and lack of peoples participation in budget planning especially from the the local level. Real economic growth must felt by the people in the margins of society.”

The government just released in July 2014 that fishermen, farmers and children remain to be the poorest among the basic sectors. They represent 39.2%, 38.3% and 35.2% respectively, from the overall poverty incidence of 25.2% in 2012. This means that 1 out of 4 people are poor in the Philippines. The target for the government in poverty alleviation is 16.6% poverty incidence by year 2015. This is still a long shot, and the government has conceded, but still needs to prove that they are accountable.

Among the indigenous peoples farmers, the issue on Coco levy fund, after almost 40 years, is still a continuing battle. The P78B fund still needs to be distributed to the coconut farmers. The indigenous peoples farmers need to be part of the discussion in the Philippine Coconut Authority. At the same time, land security is important to be addressed, as sustainable agriculture depends on having a secure land as well. “The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and other concerned agencies need to step up and resolve these issues on ancestral domain and other tenurial instruments. Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles need to finally be awarded to the IPs”, says Julian Tena, Dumagat leader from SAGIBIN-LN of Quezon and partner of AnthroWatch, GCAP Coordinating Committee member.

Luis Granados of Kabataan Kontra Kahirapan, a GCAP Coordinating Committee member, says that “the Youth are being left behind. The abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan had only been the discussed by the “elders” in the government. There are also many youth politicians but their voices also muffled by the political parties of their relatives. What is also they youth’s role in K-12? Most employment opportunities are in call center and those that are related to servicing international clients, or encourage overseas work. The Youth are left behind still because still the genuine voices and actions need to be put out more.”

Inequality, good governance, maternal health, peace and security, protection of children, access to basic services, the environment, are also among the most pressing themes that GCAP Philippines want addressed. In PNoy’s speech on July 28, it should report beyond numbers and face-saving against criticisms of DAP, and address how to concretely accelerate poverty reduction. It should set aside arrogance, and acknowledge that there are real-life problems felt by people everyday, and that the government needs to share the urgency of working to resolve these. With this, they can encourage more people to move with them for genuine development, for justice, equality and security. This way, no one would be left behind.
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GCAP-Philippines is a movement composed of various grassroots and national organisations in the Philippines working towards eradicating poverty. It utilizes various strategies such as media and mobilization demanding and challenging the Philippine government to live up to its promise to the Millennium Development Goals and to protect and promote the rights of Filipinos to have a decent and dignified life. It is also currently engaged in the Post-2015 processes organising consultations and campaigns, linking with national and international networks and participating in various fora to help ensure that the Post-2015 development agenda truly address poverty and inequality.

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Press Release
July 24, 2014

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