Forum highlights Duterte's gains

NUMBERS GAME. Cabinet members presented government data they deemed “too numerous” to be included in the President’s State of the Nation Address. SunStar Photo/Amper Campaña

FROM 337,000 enrollees in 2017, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has gathered around 17.5 million enrollees in 2018.

Some 9.5 million Filipinos have also benefited from the National Government’s unconditional cash transfer as a component of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion program.

These were some of the items highlighted during the “Tatak ng Pagbabago” pre-State of the Nation Address (Sona) forum held on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

The event was the second leg of a three-part forum in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth Sona before a joint session of Congress on July 22.

The series is organized by members of the Cabinet in cooperation with member-agencies of the six Cabinet clusters to provide a “clearer” picture on where the country is headed.

The first forum was held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on July 1, and was spearheaded by the economic development and infrastructure cluster.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the first forum bannered the theme “Patuloy na Pag-unlad,” which highlighted the economic growth, financial stability and infrastructure development despite the spike in world oil prices and a “brief bout with elevated inflation.”

“Our economy has grown at least six percent annually; poverty in the first half of 2018 was reduced to 21 percent from 27 percent in 2017; self-rated poverty, according to the Social Weather Stations, fell from 50 percent in the last quarter of 2018 to 38 percent in the first quarter of this year, an all-time low,” he said

For the second forum, the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Center (HPDRC) and the Participatory Governance Cluster reported the country’s status in terms of poverty reduction, human capital development, public participation, good governance and social services reform.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, HPDRC chairman, presented the government’s programs on free education, public health and livelihood for basic sectors.

Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año and Department of Budget and Management officer-in-charge Janet Abuel, on the other hand, reported about the need for strategic engagement and partnership between communities and local government units.

Año and Abuel serve as co-chairpersons of the participatory governance clusters.

Nograles said the pre-Sona activities were organized to provide data deemed too numerous to be included in the President’s Sona.

It also aims to “extensively” report on the Duterte administration’s accomplishments and its goals, and to provide stakeholders an opportunity to raise concerns.

The third and final forum, “Patuloy na Katatagan,” will be held in Davao on July 17.

It will be spearheaded by the Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction Cluster, and the Security, Justice and Peace Clusters.

It will discuss measures related to ecological preservation, national security and public order and safety. (RTF)


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