Filipinos called upon to wage "war of freedom from poverty and crisis"
By Minerva BC Newman
Cebu, Philippines (13 June) -- In the revolution of 1898 that won for our country its independence, the goal then was simple and singular: freedom from foreign colonization. One hundred years later, "we are once again at war and our singular goal is victory over poverty and crisis."
Secretary of Finance Margarito Teves said this during his Independence Day message at the Entertainment Plaza, SM-Cebu during the awarding of employment contracts, training vouchers and livelihood grants to workers-beneficiaries under the government's CLEEP or Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program).
"With our collective efforts toward this singular goal, our ongoing battle against poverty and crisis, while unfinished, is slowly, but surely will be won," Teves was optimistic.
The finance secretary added, that with this year's theme for the Independence Day celebration; 'Kagitingan, Kagalingan, at Kasipagan Tungo sa Tunay na Kalayaan' "we are called upon as a government and as a people to exhibit a different kind of valor, a different sort of skill, and a different type of industriousness, in waging a different war—this time, a war of freedom from poverty and crisis," he enthused.
According to Teves, in this war to fight the adverse effects of the current global financial and economic crisis, the country must have a battle plan, and that plan is called the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program or CLEEP.
The nationwide launch of the CLEEP was consciously done on the national day of independence, "to drive home the message that in the same way we've been victorious in the battle for freedom as a sovereign nation 111 years ago, we will also emerge victorious in the battle to overcome the adverse effects of the current global crisis on the country's economy and national development," the finance secretary said.
The CLEEP is the government's banner program intended for the poor and the underprivileged workers who are expected to bear the brunt of the global financial meltdown.
It is a government-led effort that will implement focused community-based projects in eco-torism, fisheries, and for the out of school youth with the strong support and active participation of the local government units and the community stakeholders in the country, Teves continued.
According to Teves, the President herself has emphasized the importance of CLEEP's success in ensuring the country's resilience in the face of global pressure.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has designated CLEEP stewards per region to monitor its implementation and success. Secretary Teves is designated as CLEEP steward for Negros Island while DOT Secretary Ace Durano as CLEEP steward for Cebu and the CARAGA region.
Secretary Teves was in Dumaguete to lead the Independence Day Flag Raising and wreath-laying at Quezon Park and assisted in the awarding of employment contracts, training and scholarship vouchers and livelihood grants to beneficiaries in Negros Oriental in the morning and in Cebu in the afternoon of June 12. (PIA-Cebu) [top]