NEDA Chief: Marcos Admin to Institutionalize Development Programs to Shield Vulnerable Sector From Poverty

The Marcos administration wants to institutionalize the existing development programs to shield vulnerable sectors from slipping into poverty amid the challenging times, the country’s socioeconomic planning secretary said on Thursday, stressing it’s a manifestation of the government’s commitment to fighting poverty.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan announced NEDA Board’s approval of the social protection floor (SPF) recommendations with proposed strategies for social protection guarantees for healthcare, children, active age and older persons.

While there is already enhanced assistance for vulnerable sectors being undertaken by the government, reporters asked the NEDA chief about the difference between the newly approved measure and the existing programs.

“The intention is to institutionalize the existing programs especially those that have been proven to work so that we don’t have to restart all over again when there are need to provide support to vulnerable groups,” he said as a response.

“That’s the basic concept there that we reduce the risk faced by vulnerable groups so that they don’t fall into poverty, so that children don’t become victims of lack of learning that can be exacerbated by exposures to shocks like climate change, supply disruptions particularly those affecting food, inflation, loss of jobs by their parents. So we want to ensure that, you know, these children are protected from those shocks so that the society as a whole can progress.”

The Philippines, he said, is a country that is very much exposed to a lot of risks such as climate change risk, noting the administration wants to make sure that when the vulnerable members of society are exposed to those risks, they do not fall into poverty.

The NEDA Board, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., approved the SPF recommendations with proposed strategies along with the proposed executive order implementing the Philippines’ tariff commitments under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

SPF refers to nationally defined set of basic social security guarantees that aim to prevent or alleviate poverty vulnerability and social exclusion, guaranteeing the provision of protection to individuals and families in times of need.

The SPF is comprised of four basic guarantees covering the entire life cycle: Health (including maternity care), children, active age, and older persons.

Balisacan reiterated that social protection and human capital development are among the government’s goals as outlined in the Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028 aimed at harnessing the framework to attain desired social objectives such as protecting the purchasing power of Filipino families and mitigating the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also emphasized that Thursday’s approval of the government SPF is a significant progress in the country’s development history.

“This is a manifestation of the government’s commitment to significantly reduce poverty incidence and promote inclusive growth,” he said.

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