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PIA Press Release

NGOs push fight vs poverty amid disasters

Davao City (17 October) -- Amid typhoons and other natural calamities, development activist and human development legislative advocates are calling on individuals, government agencies, lawmakers and other stakeholders to be firm in taking action to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) by 2015.

In a media briefing dubbed, "Poverty, Disasters and the Millennium Development Goals" held today to contribute in the start of a three-day "Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now!" activities in the Philippines, Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) sent a loud and clear message that time is running out, urgent and decisive implementation of the MDG-related policies, budgets and programs cannot wait any longer.

San Pascual states unmanaged population growth, lack of sound urban planning, and environmental degradation are factors increasing poor people's vulnerability to disasters as they encroach into disaster-prone lands, such as mountain slopes and riverbanks.

He said, "We need political will if we truly want to address poverty and lessen the impact of natural calamities." He added, "In a country where two million Filipinos are born each year, the government and the lawmaking body should remain focused despite narrow minded opposition from one specific sector of the society."

San Pascual stressed, "a law that will provide access to all methods of family planning, including modern natural methods and medically safe contraceptives, and reproductive health education program will eventually lead to a more manageable population and sustainable environment as the base of development."

Meanwhile, commenting on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's statement that the Philippines is a victim of climate change and that rich nations should fund the rehabilitation of the country, Milo Tanchuling of the National Anti-Poverty Commission NGO Sector and Freedom from Debt Coalition asked, "why then are we getting a loan of P50B from multilateral organizations?"

"If the Philippines will get fund for disaster rehabilitation in loans from the rich nations, who in the first place are the culprits of climate change, then this is a triple whammy on the poor and marginalized sectors," he added.

Tanchuling explains, "Every single Filipino has a debt of P48,000.00 from loans transacted by the government. Worse is, this administration could not even afford to allocate funding for basic social services, such as health and education, instead it is bent on paying compounded interests to loans that we should have not incurred in the first place."

"Instead of asking loans from these rich nations," Tanchuling stressed, "we should make them pay for climate debt that caused damages to developing countries. (PLCPD) [top]

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