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PIA Press Release

PGMA mobilizes Cabinet to spearhead programs to soften impact of global crisis on poor Filipinos

Manila (29 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo mobilized her Cabinet to spearhead the government's pro-poor employment and livelihood programs to soften the impact of the global economic debacle, especially on the highly vulnerable sector of Philippine society - the poor.

The President has assigned all Cabinet members to specific regions of the country to formulate strategies and oversee programs designed to help the poor in these difficult economic times.

Some P4.5 billion from the "Katas ng VAT" has been set aside as initial funding for the project.

This was announced yesterday by Press Secretary Jesus G. Dureza who said the President assigned him to his own region in Mindanao - Region 11 or the Davao area.

"The whole country is covered" by the pro-poor and livelihood programs, Dureza told a joint press briefing in Malacanang with Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Trade Secretary Peter Favila.

"She (President Arroyo) assigned every member of her Cabinet to specific areas. In my case, I was assigned to Region 11 - taga roon ako," Dureza said.

At the Cabinet meeting this morning (Tuesday) in Malacanang, the President directed members of her official family "to come up with specific livelihood programs per area of assignment, and emergency employment programs that will help our less privileged countrymen during these difficult times," Dureza said.

The stepped up livelihood programs will be funded by the "katas ng VAT (value-added tax) and other resources generated by the tough economic reforms adopted by the President," he added.

"May pondo tayo para maka-focus sa most vulnerable sector ng lipunan. This is over and above the regular projects ng departments. Every region, may steward who will take care (of his assigned) region to see these (to it that these) projects are implemented." Dureza said.

Of the P4.5 billion, about P2 billion will be set aside for the agriculture infrastructure projects under the "FIELDS" program; P500 million for Mindanao health supplement projects, and another P500 million for the rehabilitation of areas affected by the fighting between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF).

The "Pantawid Kuryente" program will receive P400 million, while the competitiveness program to be handled by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will receive a P600-million funding. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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