DAVAO CITY — A partylist lawmaker challenged presidential candidates to make a stand to end poverty by giving land to the farmers for free.
“If no presidentiable commits to giving land to the farmers for free, poverty and hunger are to remain, as well as the escalating people’s struggle for rights to land, jobs, homes and democratic rights,” said Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap.
Hicap also condemned the latest announcement of the government that poverty has declined.
In a report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Friday, March 18, it said “poverty incidence among Filipinos in the first semester of 2015 was estimated at 26.3 percent.”
This was lower compared to the recorded poverty incidence during the same period in 2012 which was 27.9 percent.
However, in a statement on Monday, March 21, Hicap said the government “is using a poverty threshold per capita of P61 per day or for a family of five at P304.”
“If (President Aquino) treats a street dweller who collected more than P61 for a day’s begging as not poor, he has a sick way of declaring poverty,” Hicap said.
Anakpawis asserted that the continuing landlessness among Filipino farmers and that low wages of workers cause poverty and hunger.
Hicap said that genuine land reform or free land distribution as proposed by House Bill No. 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) should be enacted to systematically uplift the majority of the population out of poverty.
Hicap also demanded the repeal of Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act and called for the enactment of House Bill No. 253 or the P125 nationwide wage hike, across the regional wage boards and HB 3015 or the the P6,000 salary increase for public sector workers. They are also proposing the banning on contractualization through HB 5140 or the Regular Employment Bill.
As the elections come near, the group said the next president should “realize a national democratic policy for the country, to be kicked off by genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.” (davaotoday.com)