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10, 2012

NR # 2827B

Congress approves magna carta of the poor
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that provides for the magna carta of the poor. House Bill 4484 otherwise known as the “Magna Carta of the Poor” aims to uplift the standard of living and quality of the poor and provide them with sustained opportunities for growth and development. The bill also seeks to provide for the creation and expansion of employment and livelihood opportunities involving a gradual shift from government subsidy to the eventual empowerment of the poor to meet their minimum basic needs. The poor, as referred under this Act, are those families or individuals whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and who cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide for their minimum basic needs. Likewise, the measure states that the poor shall be identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) with the participation of the basic sectors and local government units (LGUs). The protection and promotion of five fundamental rights of the poor which are the right to food, the right to employment and livelihood, the right to quality education, the right to shelter and the right to basic health services and medicines are provided for under the bill. The bill tasks government implementing agencies to accredit development partners like nongovernment organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs) and private corporations which -like these government bodies shall also be authorized to accept donations, aids or grants, in cash or in kind -- from duly accredited sources, to meet the demands of the basic rights of the poor. Any donation, contribution and grant which may be made to the sponsored program shall be exempt from the donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deduction from the gross income in the computation of the income tax of the donor in accordance with the provisions of the “National Internal Revenue Code of 1997”, as amended. The bill also provides that the funding to be used for the implementation of this Act shall be sourced from the existing anti-poverty programs of different departments and agencies of the government. Among the principal authors of the bill are Reps. Rachel Marguerite B. del Mar (1st District, Cebu City), Ben. P. Evardone (Lone District, Eastern Samar), Marcelino R. Teodoro (1st District, Marikina Cty), Rodante D. Marcoleta (Party-list, Alagad) and Peter M. Unabia (1st District, Misamis Oriental). (30) mvip