AT first blush, the proposed Magna Carta for the Poor looks like a good thing. There are 27 million poor Filipinos and their numbers are growing, so what could be more appropriate than a bill that would “help the poor by strengthening the social service programs of the government, with the help of the private sector.”

On deeper thought, however, it is mere verbiage. The constitution and existing laws entitle all Filipinos to such social services as jobs, education, health and housing.

With or without a Magna Carta, government is mandated to provide all these services to its citizens equitably, meaning with special consideration to the disadvantaged who are supposed to have more in law.

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Thus, if 30 percent of the population remains poor after all these years, it simply means government has been sleeping on the job. If we need now a special Magna Carta for the Poor, it means we have blundered big time in providing them with adequate social services. The problem is, if there was a Magna Carta before, would government have done its job? I seriously doubt it.

What has former congressman Raul del Mar even tried doing to help the poor that his daughter could continue? Where did his pork barrel go that now his daughter has to file a bill to help the poor? Moreover, of the many things it could do under its charter, what has the City Council done to help the poor with jobs, decent housing and sanitary toilets?

Previous national and local governments have usually resorted to three standard solutions that are essentially non-solutions for being merely a lot of verbiage. First is to come up with a new law or a revised law. Why not simply implement laws?

Hence, I hope “wang-wang” is not the only old law the Aquino administration will have the political will to implement.

Second is to come up with an investigation that begins with a bang but ends not even with a whimper. Crime investigation, corruption investigation… you name it, we have it, but none ever resolves anything. The Truth Commission’s job is, therefore, cut out for it. It must conduct an investigation to end all previous and pending investigations.

Third is to conduct a survey. In the survey of 2008, we discovered that one in five families in Central Visayas lacks a sanitary toilet. So now we must update and have a new survey.

But if we have not done anything about it, and we haven’t, then obviously more families are without sanitary toilets now. What is the new P24-million survey for? We are choking in a tangled maze of social ills and have been treated so far with an even more tangled maze of verbiage. Enough of all the empty talk.

PNoy’s term must mark the onset of an action season.