Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed elation over the passage into law of Republic Act 11291 or the “Magna Carta of the Poor” seeking to champion the cause of the underprivileged by ensuring their full access to basic services to help alleviate poverty.
De Lima, the principal sponsor and author of the “Magna Carta of the Poor” bill in the Senate, said the enactment of such measure shall guarantee that the poor are granted ready access to government services and encourage private sectors to invest in pro-poor programs.
“Sa ilalim ng batas na ito, binibigyang lakas at kakayahan natin ang mahihirap nating kababayan na maitaguyod ang marangal na pamumuhay, sa pagsisigurong nabibigyan sila ng sapat na tulong at ayuda, lalo na sa panahon ng kalamidad,” she said.
“The dream of the poor for a better future is within reach with the signing of this law. Finally, their pleas have been heard and the state will be their refuge,” added the former justice secretary.
Last April 12, President Duterte has reportedly signed Republic Act No. 11291 which guarantees the rights of the poor to adequate food, decent work, relevant and quality education, housing, and the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health.
Under the new law, the government is mandated to establish a system of progressive realization or implementation to provide the requirements, conditions, and opportunities for the full enjoyment of the fundamental rights of the poor.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, thanked her colleagues for crossing party lines in supporting the pro-poor bill and helping push for its swift enactment into law.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa pamunuan at sa ating mga kasamahan sa Senado, na naging katuwang natin sa pagsasabatas ng panukalang ito na isang pangmatagalang tugon sa mga pangangailangan ng mga nasa laylayan nating kababayan,” she said.
Senate Bill No. 2021 has been approved on third and final reading at the Senate last January 29. A similar bill was approved by the House of Representatives in August 2017.
Now a law, RA 11291 mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in coordination with the National Economic and Development Authority and the National Anti-Poverty Commission to identify and target its beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries in the new law include individuals whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority, and those who cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, and housing. This law is a fitting supplement to, and complementary of the 4Ps Law which has also been recently signed. It provides a comprehensive framework for an wholistic approach at uplifting the lives of the poor as to empower them to assert their rights.