Team Unity vows to pursue poverty alleviation programs

May. 04, 2007

MANILA — To sustain economic growth and help the government solve the global-wide menace of poverty, senatorial candidates of Team Unity will push in the next Congress an array of programs designed to create more jobs throughout the country.

Team Unity senatorial candidate Miguel Zubiri said in a TV program, job creation is the key in reducing poverty, especially in rural areas.

Zubiri said in the recent GMA 7 Forum that a good model are the projects in Maguindanao of former Mayor Toto Paglas, who created jobs by putting up a banana plantation in a former rebel-infested area in the province.

“This is the reason why gunfights ceased in Maguindanao as 11,000 jobs were created by Toto Paglas in the area,” he said. Today, this Paglas plantation is one of the country’s top banana exporters, he added.

Paglas is noted for bringing peace and prosperity in his town Datu Paglas, Maguindanao by putting up a banana plantation and other livelihood activities even prior to his tenure as mayor, he said.

Zubiri said creating more jobs brings hope to the people as families are given the opportunity to help bring this nation to progress.

He said his pet law, the “Biofuels Act”, could also help spur job opportunities as residents, especially those in the rural areas, could plant crops that can be sold to biofuels producers.

“We could plant jathropa, cassava, corn, sugarcane, which could be used for ethanol production and added to gasoline,” he said.

Team Unity’s solid economic platforms rests on their commitment to deliver the “8 by ’08” agenda of President Arroyo aimed at giving to the masa the social payback for the economic turnaround on the Arroyo watch.

To further bring the benefits of economic growth to the masa, the President is carrying out her social payback agenda through her “8 by ’08” program of action focused on more investments; a strong peso; lowering living costs; education; pro-poor healthcare, housing and hunger mitigation; a strong anti-terrorism drive; and a green Philippines.

It is also investing heavily in infrastructure that will focus on the construction or repair of irrigation facilities and building postharvest facilities like cold storage centers to raise productivity and the incomes of small farmers and fisherfolk.

To complement this, the government is also putting up barangay food terminals and other projects to better manage the supply chain in order to link producers directly to retail markets and thus pull down the cost of foodstuff for ordinary consumers. From January 2001 to December 2006, 6,256 kilometers of farm-to-market roads and 27,441 kilometers of highways, including 33,826 meters of bridges, were constructed.

The Arroyo administration will also complete the construction and upgrading of 17 ports this year, build eight new provincial airports and implement 10 rail projects on top of providing new homes for over 64,000 families living in hazard-prone areas.###

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