By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The government remains optimistic in alleviating the lives of six million Filipinos from poverty, which if realized, will result to a decline of the overall poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022 from the current 21.6 percent.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Virginia Orogo, who also serves as chair of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPRC) cluster of the government, said that to reach this target, 18 cluster-Cabinet members have started to address fundamental issues related to education, health, social protection, and rural development.
During the pre-State of the Nation Address forum, Orogo reported the accomplishments of the HDPRC cluster in different sectors.
For the education sector, the DSWD chief reported there has been an increase in enrollment of 14.5 percent for kindergarten and elementary education, and 25.6 percent in secondary education.
Of the total number of enrollees, she said that 4.9 million pupils and 3.9 million high school students are all children of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program household-beneficiaries.
For the health advancement efforts of the government, Orogo shared that 93 percent of Filipinos are already covered by PhilHealth.
These include the 32.7 million indigents listed on the DSWD’s Listahanan of poor households and 8.6 million senior citizens.
Meanwhile, the Medical Assistance for the Indigents Patients (MAIP) has served a total of 751,007 clients, while DSWD’s Lingap sa Masa has benefited a total of 63,178 clients.
“We are expecting that the universal health coverage for all Filipinos will be passed into law as soon as possible, serving as the government’s response to providing health services to every Filipino household,” she said.
When it comes to enhanced social protection, Orogo said the government has aided Overseas Filipinos, pursuing bilateral labor agreements through memoranda of understanding with different countries for better working conditions and stronger protection to them.
She also said that a total of 4.2 million beneficiaries of the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) have already received their grants.
The target beneficiaries who will receive the UCT are expected to reach an estimated 8 million on or before the SONA.
“As a way forward, a common database and Unified ID system for all social services is currently being studied to facilitate further the delivery of our services to the poor,” Orogo said.
She also reported that the government has intensified its support to farmers and fisherfolk to improve their capability through solar power irrigation system, national color-coded agricultural guide, “magsasakang mekaniko,” and livelihood interventions.