Senate panel to tackle pending bills on poverty alleviation

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The Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development chaired by Senator Leila M. de Lima will start public hearing tomorrow (Sept. 25) on several measures that seek to alleviate poverty and improve the plight of the Filipino people, especially the poor.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who was also designated as vice chairman of the committee, will preside over the Senate hearing tomorrow on behalf of Senator De Lima who was not allowed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct public hearing inside PNP-Custodial Center, in Camp Crame, Quezon City. “My committee will start a public hearing on these measures, nonetheless, and we have invited several resource persons from the concerned government agencies and civil society organizations to shed light on the significance of each of these measures,” she said.

“In my absence, Senator Sonny will preside over the deliberations of these measures. We agreed to cluster 38 pending bills and resolutions according to eight areas. We hope to consolidate similar measures, consolidate them and report them out soon,” she added.

The pending bills that would be tackled by her committee include the Magna Carta of the Poor, the institutionalization of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the Magna Carta of Child Development Workers (CDWs).

The proposed “Magna Carta of the Poor” seeks to guarantee the full enjoyment of the fundamental rights of the poor by granting them ready access to government services and encouraging private sector’s investments in poverty alleviation programs.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act seeks to make 4Ps as one of the regular poverty reduction programs of the government for qualified poor families and ensure that its implementation will not be dependent on future administrations.

Meanwhile, the Magna Carta for CDWs seeks to provide child development workers with security of tenure and social protection in times of unforeseen contingencies such as sickness, disability or retirement.

Aside from these top three bills, other pending measures that were clustered according to areas of concerns include the Proposed System for Registration and Licensing of Social Welfare and Development Agencies, Protection of Volunteerism from Liability, Regulating Public Solicitation, Rural Employment Assistance Program and National Rotary Day.

“It is my ardent hope that these measures meant to address poverty across the country will be passed into law, as they will definitely benefit the marginalized and underprivileged sectors of our society, especially those in the rural areas,” she said.

Last June 28, Senate President Vicente Sotto III visited Senator De Lima at PNP-Custodial Center where the two talked about how they can push for important measures.

In July 2, Sotto sent a letter to PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde requesting to allow De Lima to conduct Senate hearing inside the PNP’s Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City where she has been unjustly detained.

Albayalde, however, denied Sotto’s request but left it to the proper court to decide on the matter.

Amid the political persecution she is constantly subjected to under the present administration, De Lima has remained active in drafting legislative measures aimed at promoting the welfare and protecting the rights of the Filipino people.

To date, De Lima has authored and co-authored 180 bills and 120 resolutions since she was elected into office in 2016, 89 bills and 98 resolutions of which were filed while in detention.

“Challenges may continue to come my way, but I vow to never let these challenges stop me from serving the Filipino people,” she said.

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