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President Duterte’s social initiatives launched

MANILA, Philippines – All Filipinos must live with security—secure of having affordable housing, enough food, accessible jobs, decent livelihood and financial assistance. With this marching order from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. organized the first Social Development Initiatives Summit in Davao City, with the theme “Malasakit at Pagbabago.”
“We are here to listen to the realities, dreams, and vulnerabilities of the Filipinos, identify local peculiarities and spatial realities, and develop mechanisms for efficient and swift delivery of government services on the ground,” Evasco, whose office has supervision over several agencies that deal largely with the welfare of the country’s poor and marginalized sectors in urban areas and the countryside, said in the launch of the Summit last August 17. “So ang purpose dito, pag-uusapan. That ang pag-uusap dito would result into a social development agenda, which would address poverty. Halimbawa, we will be discussing on the creation of jobs, because job creation would mean the reduction of poverty incidence. Pag-uusapan din dito iyong creation of opportunities for livelihood, kasi ito din, nagre-reduce din ng incidence of poverty. Pinag-uusapan din dito iyong, anong iyong tulong natin sa mamamayan in connection with their ongoing livelihood—this will also reduce poverty. Pinag-uusapan din dito papaano iyong question of reproductive health, because lowering… would mean also reduction of poverty,” Evasco said on a separate occasion, during a radio interview on DZRB Davao.
A series of workshops on housing, education, health, culture, environment, and climate change were held in the summit, attended by representatives from various government agencies and departments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civic social organizations, people’s organizations, and sectoral representatives. Day 1 focused on “defining the context”: a briefing on Philippine socio-economic development was presented, and the summit flow and methodology was discussed, while Day 2 was the integration and presentation of workshop results, which would be the framework for the sectoral summit. “In fact, ang output dito will now be the basis for calling the sectoral summit. So, we will be calling on urban poor, IPs (indigenous people), the Moro people, workers, the farmers. Likewise, we will be calling summits also, issue-driven like health, housings, sports, lahat-lahat, because these are the issues that cut across all sectors in our society,” Evasco concluded.
Cabinet members participating in the summit were Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Vice-President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chairperson Maria Leonor Robredo, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Presidential Action Center (PACE) Undersecretary Peter Laviña, and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.