Arroyo vows to ‘stand up’ vs poverty, asks public to do same
Quezon City (16 October) -- PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has vowed to stamp out poverty and give better living conditions to Filipinos in a United Nations campaign dubbed "Stand Up," in which the Philippines is also aiming to set a world record for the most number of people standing up against this social malaise.
Nileema Noble, United Nations resident representative, said the ceremony in Malacañang on Monday signified the country's participation in this worldwide campaign and in the Millenium Development Goals (MDG).
Noble said the target was for one million Filipinos from different parts of the country to stand up simultaneously in the fight against poverty.
Cecille Alvarez, Arroyo's adviser on culture, said the participants would stand up for 10 minutes. She said they expected about 20 million people, mostly students, to join.
At the Kalayaan grounds in Malacañang, Arroyo said 1,591 persons participated in the event.
But more than the world record, Arroyo said she wanted to break the cycle of leaders making promises without turning them into reality.
"We are aiming for a record for the most number of people who will stand up simultaneously to demand action against poverty,” said Arroyo in Filipino, reading from the “Pledge Against Poverty.”
“But the real record that we want to break is that set by people who have repeatedly broken their promise to help the poor,” said Arroyo.
She said leaders should not just sit and do nothing while children born to poor families live 30 years shorter than children born to well-off families.
“Now is the time to end this heartbreaking reality. Let us all stand up to ask for justice and not for pity,” she said.
Arroyo joined the call to leaders of rich nations for debt relief and fair trade policies that would help end poverty. “Alam ninyo ang dapat gawin, gawin ito [You know what you’re supposed to do, so do it].”
To leaders of poor nations, Arroyo said, “Make it your pledge to save the lives of your countrymen, we ask that you be true to your duty, show the people where the country’s money should be spent, uphold equality in governance, uproot corruption -- do all these.”
Noble said the "stand up moments" would show the people's renewal of commitment to fight poverty and injustice.
"In the spirit much like people power, the Philippines has taken the "Tumayo Tayo [Stand Up]" against poverty and Stand Up for the MDG to remarkable heights," she said. (PIA) [top]