Less foreign travels for PRRD anti-poverty czar

President Duterte’s newly-appointed anti-poverty chief  has vowed to engage all 82 provinces by involving them in the government’s social agenda of bringing about a strong middle class economy by the year 2040.

In Davao City on Sunday, Atty. Noel K. Felongco said “there will be less foreign travels but more provincial sorties” for the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

With the LGUs, Felongco said he will push for the inclusion of social welfare agenda and climate change adaptation in the crafting of their development plans.

Felongco replaced former Secretary Liza Masa who resigned her position in August this year.

The NAPC is headed by President Duterte as chairman with Felongco as lead convenor, with the rank of an undersecretary.

The NAPC, created by virtue of Republic Act 8425 in 1998, is tasked to coordinate poverty reduction programs and to involve marginalized sectors in government decision-making.

The law grouped the marginalized sectors into 14 categories: farmers and landless rural workers, fisherfolk, urban, indigenous peoples, workers in formal labor and migrant workers,  workers in the informal sector, women, children, youth and students, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, victims of disasters and calamities, non-governmental organizations and cooperatives.

“These basic sectors must be heard and must be involved in decision-making process,” said Felongco. “The NAPC provides them the opportunity to engage government on the ground.”

Felongco served as chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, whose former head, Terry Ridon, was sacked by President Duterte for undertaking seven foreign travels in less than a year.

Felongco is credited for instituting a manual of operations and for the crafting of a five-year urban poor development plan of the PCUP.

The UPDP is a roadmap to provide for the needs of the urban poor and to ventilate the concerns of informal settler families.

Felongco said he is looking forward to an reinvigorated and innovative NAPC that will ensure ‘clean, green secured and economically-secured communities.’

Felongco said among the NAPC innovations is the advocacy on federalism as a means to bringing about inclusive change and growth for the provinces.