With a quarter of the country’s population classified as living below the poverty line, there is no question that a Magna Carta for the Poor has to be in placed to ensure that their basic rights are protected and government services reach them.
But, why did President Benigno Aquino, PNoy, disapproved or vetoed the Magna Carta for the Poor submitted by Congress?
While some thoughtless politicians and senatorial candidates are making the veto an issue in their campaign sorties, I don’t believe, however, that there is anything political nor apathy on the part of PNoy in disapproving it.
On the contrary, and considering that there will be elections in May, he could just have gladly signed it into law and use the occasion for political advantage.
Thus, I find it idiotic why senatorial aspirant and Aquino staunch critic, Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay, said Aquino’s move to veto the Magna Carta for the Poor “just goes to show that he has no love and concern for our less fortunate brothers”.
“His elitist background is showing,” Magsaysay, an author of the House version, said.
Sounds of a trivial and despairing senatorial candidate!
More than anything, PNoy is just trying to be circumspect about it, making sure that once in place, it is doable.
Can you blame him if he found the provisions of the charter ‘unrealistic’?
The president said he vetoed the proposed Magna Carta for the Poor because its implementation could not be funded.
He said the Philippines is a signatory to an international agreement that implements a staggered or progressive implementation of the rights of the poor, but the proposed bill does not conform to this.
He cited, for example, a provision that “the poor shall have the following rights, the enjoyment of which is an essential step towards poverty alleviation: a) the right to food; b) the right to employment and livelihood; c) the right to quality education; d) the right to shelter; e) the right to basic health services and medicines.”
The provision also states that the government has the duty and obligation to provide for these rights.
He said there should be a “progressive realization” of these rights. This means: “Pero ‘pag pinirmahan natin sa batas, alam nating hindi magagawa ng gobyerno, binola ko ‘yung mga boss ko, at hindi ko magagawa ‘yon.” (Rough translation: But once signed, we know that government can’t do it and I will be fooling the people who are my boss, and I can’t do that.)
Aquino noted that funding the various projects in the bill was already beyond the country’s budget this year.
The President cited as example the provision on socialized housing for the poor, which would roughly cost P2.32 trillion.
This year’s budget is only a little over P2 trillion, of which P600 billion has been earmarked for socialized housing.
Aquino was also not comfortable that the National Housing Authority can be sued if it fails to provide housing units for indigent people.
“The corrective action for this is to direct our Cabinet social cluster to draw up a substitute measure that we will give to the next Congress and, hopefully, that they will act upon with haste,” the President said.
Aren’t PNoy’s arguments reasonable and believable enough?