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V Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)

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                                                                                                           Ms. Ronadale Zapata



18 October 2005

FILIPINOS are being divided by too much partisan politics which in turn is worsening the poverty situation.


Vice President and ex-officio National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Alternate Chairman Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro yesterday said many poor Filipinos could have better lives today if only politics has not been abused during the past years.


During the observance of the 2005 National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty at the Rizal Park yesterday, De Castro said the government has plenty of programs to fight poverty but they were rendered useless because too much attention paid by national leaders in uniting a divided citizenry.


“What can the government do in bringing progress in our nation if it uses most of its time and resources in healing wounds caused by too much politics in the country? Our country can never move forward if there are always people who want to bring it down,” De Castro said.


De Castro said the poor segment of the Filipino society might have experienced improved social and economic condition had public officials and leaders chosen to unite for a common goal such as generating jobs and providing houses for the underprivileged instead of staging anti-government rallies and demonstrations in the streets.


The Vice President admitted he has not met every single poor Filipino and cannot address their individual needs and concerns. But as concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), De Castro said he is doing his best to address one of the basic needs of poor Filipinos -- which is adequate and secure housing.

“It is also in the present national housing program that unity is best exemplified, thus making it one the most effective and impact-oriented program of the government to uplift the lives of marginalized Filipinos,” he added.


Given this, De Castro challenged those present to visit the various relocation sites for the railway families affected by the Northrail project. Because of the focused attention given by HUDCC to the national shelter thrust and the unprecedented support extended by local government units and non-government organizations to the relocation program, De Castro said the former informal settlers are now enjoying their new life as house and lot owners in communities that offer decent life. From so-called ‘squatters’, they have now become ‘villagers’ who can live with dignity.


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