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Where the P49-million Pagcor funds are going

September 16, 2019 - Monday 4:09 AM by Jimmy Laking

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True to its promise, the National Anti-Poverty Commission did not think twice where to channel the P49-million fund provided by the Philippine Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

The NAPC is the government’s coordinating body in its anti-poverty program with President Duterte as chair and with Secretary Noel K. Felongco as lead convener.

The funding was previously allotted by the Pagcor in 2017 for NAPC when it was headed by Secretary Liza Maza.

But after receiving the funds, Maza issued a memorandum order directing the temporary ban of further disbursements. And there it lingered until it was flagged by the Commission on Audit as “unused fund.”

The NAPC under Felongco quickly sought to make up for lost time and for lost opportunity by working out an MOA for the lifting of the suspension.

As it turned out, the NAPC had already identified several poverty-reduction projects it sought to implement once the funds were released.

In Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte last week, Felongco unveiled the implementation of seven poverty reduction projects in the regions that will be funded from the P49 million Pagcor funds. 

“Modest as the projects are, they will go a long way in helping reduce poverty at the grassroots level,” the NAPC official told provincial officials on Thursday.

The projects consisted of compact farming, construction of multi-purpose buildings, and village-linked coconut industry development in seven priority areas, namely: Majayjay, Laguna; Cebu City; Calbayog City Samar; Talipao Sulu; Valladolid Negros Occidental, Kayapa Nueva Vizcaya and in Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte.

Felongco also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Kauswagan mayor Rommel C. Arnado that would ensure LGU support to a P3-million village-linked coco industry development prototype.

At the same time, the NAPC official took the opportunity for thanking responsive LGUs for their role in helping chip away at poverty incidence in Northern Mindanao that was reduced from 35.9 percent in 2015 to 25.45 percent in 2018.

He said this decline in the poverty rate is confirmed by updated government statistics. 

 “It is still a long way to go but we are confident we can bring this even lower to 14 percent by 2022,” said Felongco.

The Sambayanihan Serbisyong Sambayanan (SSS) is NAPC’s five-year development plan that sought to carry out a “climate-responsive, culture and gender-sensitive and convergent and anti-poverty strategy” based on the country’s ultimate goal to bring about a middle class society by 2040.

Felongco said the passage of Republic Act No. 11291 or the Magna Carta of the Poor showed the administration’s heart for the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed.

He said this legislative milestone assures the poor of the right to adequate food, decent work, relevant and quality education, adequate housing and highest attainable standard of living.

Felongco said based on the same statistics, poverty incidence in Northern Mindanao shrank in Bukidnon from 54.3 percent in 2015 to 32.1 percent in 2018; Camiguin from 40.2 to 23.2; Lanao del Norte from 42.2 to 23.6; Misamis Occidental from 36.9 to 32.4 and Misamis Oriental from 18.4 to 18.5 over the same period, respectively. 

Later in a meeting with Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia, Felongco said the NAPC will implement soonest the coconut processing prototype project in the municipality of Kauswagan to help enable coconut farmers to venture into other value-added projects. 

He said the project will help introduce viable and doable technology to coconut farmers.