‘Magna Carta of the Poor’ sought

September 25, 2018

OPPOSITION Senator Leila de Lima has filed a measure that will establish a “Magna Carta of the Poor” 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 pro-poor programs.

De Lima’s Senate Bill No. 2010 or “Magna Carta of the Poor” defines the fundamental rights of the poor to adequate food, decent work, relevant and quality education, housing, and the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health.

“Recognizing that food, work, education, shelter and health are the foremost fundamental rights that lie at the very core of human rights and human dignity, this law aims to at least assuage the ills that hamper the rise of the members of the Philippine society who have been left helpless at the gutter for the longest time,” she said.

Based on the 2015 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, about 16.5 percent of Filipino families or 21.5 percent of the entire population are poor, meaning that 21.9 million Filipinos do not have sufficient income to afford basic food and non-food needs.

Under the measure, the government shall provide the requirements, conditions and opportunities for the full employment of the rights of the poor to food, housing, education, decent work, and highest standard of mental and physical health.

The bill also mandates the government to prioritize investments in anti-poverty programs and give access to its services to the poor or those individuals and families who cannot afford minimum needs of food, health, education, housing and other essential amenities.