Friday, July 29, 2016

Social Protection Laws Vows to Protect Sectors from Inequality

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"In times of growing inequality, the duty of the government is to protect the people not neglect them."

This was the statement of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros as she filed four (4) new bills that she said will help "reduce inequality and address the exclusion of the most marginalized and vulnerable sectors in the country."

Hontiveros described social inequality as the unequal distribution of wealth and power that alters rights and privileges, social status and access to important social services. Her proposed measures tackle the concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, informal settlers, small fisherfolks, and coconut farmers, groups that she said are some of the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Farmers and fisherfolks

Hontiveros said she is pushing for the passage of the Coco-Levy Trust Fund law to create a trust fund for the sole use of the coconut farmers from the PhP 73-billion coco-levy fund. "The Coco-Levy Trust Fund will ensure that the money is collectively owned by small and poor farmers to promote their welfare and help revitalize the coconut industry by developing global and domestic markets."

The Senator also planned to establish a separate agency for fisheries and fisherfolks’ concerns through the Department of Fisheries Act. Hontiveros said that the Filipino fisherfolks are one of the poorest sectors”, citing the Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan 2016-2020 that reported that poverty incidence in the sector is at 39.2 % in 2014. “It’s time to develop our oceanic activities, especially in the light of our victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, to benefit our small fisherfolks without compromising ecological sustainability," she said.

Informal settlers and the LGBT

Meanwhile, Hontiveros filed the In-City Resettlement Act to protect informal settler communities who are in danger of violent and illegal demolitions by mandating the government to provide in-city or near-city resettlement.

The neopyhte Senator also pushed for the enactment of the Anti-Discrimination Bill, which seeks to penalize all forms of discrimination according to gender identity, ethnicity and religion in schools and workplaces. A similar bill has been filed by Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao and co-authored by Bataan 1st District and first transgender Congresswoman Geraldine Roman in the House of Representatives.

"Fight inequality"

"Through these bills, we will address inequality by protecting the people from its multiform effects such as poverty, violence, inhumane treatment and discrimination. We must fight inequality to promote a more sustainable approach to development. This will guarantee the rights of all people and safeguard democracy," Hontiveros concluded.

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