President Duterte spells out pro-poor program during Tondo visit

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday night visited marginalized people in Tondo, Manila and spelled out his pro-poor program.

Education, healthcare, agriculture, employment, business opportunities, and improving the delivery of social services topped his program, which he relayed to Tondo residents during the “Solidarity Dinner with the Poor” held at the Deplan Sports Complex.

It was the first out-of-the-palace activity for the President following his inauguration in Malacanang, attended mostly by Mindanaoans and Visayans who came to Metro Manila in the past to search for better opportunities in life.

On education, Duterte said “ang unahin ko po, ‘yung ating edukasyon. Sisikapin ko na lahat kayo, mga anak niyo makapag-aral at ‘yung pera ng gobyerno, una ho kayo sa edukasyon (First, I will address education. I’ll try my best that all your children can go to school; government money should be allocated for education),” said the President.

Regarding health care, he issued a directive to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to fully utilize its income running in the billions of pesos to help pay for the medicines and hospitalization of the needy and sick. 

Pointing out his food security thrust, President Duterte encouraged the residents to plant and help produce food. “Ang pangatlo pong importante sa akin, ‘yung pong agrikultura kasi pagkain ‘yan. Kailangan ho tayong magtanim (The third, which is important to me is agriculture, because it’s food. We need to plant).”

He said the government will extend its help to the farmers, who earlier  benefitted from the land reform program but had to sell their lands back to the landowners because of poverty.

Duterte expressed his gratitude to the poor who helped catapult him to the presidency. 

Speaking mostly in Filipino, the President laid out his program for the poor, calling on the less fortunate to help him in instituting reforms in the government. He strongly reiterated his fight against criminality and illegal drugs even as he announced the palace’s Help Line Number 8888 for complaints.

The President capped the night by leading government officials in distributing food packs. He was assisted by Secretary Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the urban poor leaders of Isla Puting Bato. PND (pa)