AT least 500 urban poor groups under the Sulong Mamayang Pilipino (Sumapil) on Thursday endorsed the senatorial candidacy of Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez because of his “malasakit” (compassionate) platform, including housing and increasing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program that would advance their welfare and interests.
“Naniniwala kami na si Martin Romualdez ang aming magiging boses sa Senado upang isulong ang mga programang para sa mahihirap tulad ng murang pabahay, at relokasyon,” Mayet Nacional, Sumapil national president which has 150,000 members within and outside Metro Manila, told her 5,000 supporters during the multisectoral forum held at the Payatas covered court at Ilang-ilang St., Brgy. Payatas, Quezon City Thursday attended by Romualdez.
“Siya rin ang napipisil namin na magbibigay katuparan ng aming pangarap na mawakasan ang contractualization sa trabaho at magbibigay ng tuloy-tuloy na trabaho,” Nacional added.
Sumapil vice president Rodrigo Abraham cited Romualdez’s “malasakit” in providing immediate rescue and assistance and the rebuilding of “Yolanda”-hit areas especially Tacloban City.
“Kumbinsido kami na kayang gawin ni Martin ang kanyang pagmamalasakit hindi lamang sa mga taga-Leyte kundi sa lahat ng mga mahihirap na mamamayan sa ating bansa. Gawin lang ni Martin ang kanyang ginawa sa Leyte, masaya na kami,” Abraham pointed out in the event that was also attended by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.
Brgy. Payatas chairman Manny Guarin and Brgy. Holy Spirit chairman Chito Valmocina, also Sumapil leaders, have also backed Romualdez’s senatorial bid.
For his part, Romualdez assured the leaders and members of Sumapil that he would push decent housing program for them, institutionalizing, increasing and making 4Ps or the conditional cash transfer accessible to all free of any discrimination, ending the “contractualization” system, and champion further the interests of persons with disabilities.
“Mula po sa kaibuturan ng aking puso, nagpapasalamat po ako sa inyong suporta sa akin. Makakaasa po kayo na aking itataguyod sa Senado ang inyong kagalingan at interes, iyan ang pangako kong malasakit sa inyong lahat,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez also cited his platforms of government in ensuring peace and order, curbing graft and corruption, giving free colleges education, improving health services for indigents’ zero billing, and among others.
The Leyte opposition leader vowed to work on programs that would provide affordable and decent housing in Metro Manila for the informal settlers with the objective of “preserving their jobs” by constructing medium rise buildings in government-owned lands where they are located in partnership with the private sector.
He also vowed to push the 4Ps or CCT expansion where he proposed a substantial increase with a maximum P46,200 and a minimum P24,200 financial support annually to each family-beneficiary, and among others.
At present, Romualdez explained that a qualified household-beneficiary is receiving a maximum of P15,000 per year under the CCT being implemented by the government.
Under his proposal, Romualdez proposed to raise the cash grant from P1,400 monthly or P15,000 annually to P4,300 monthly or P46,200 a year.
Romualdez sought a maximum ) education grant of P9,000 to each ) student in senior high school or a total of P27,000 for ten months to a family with maximum of three children from the present P3,000 or P9,000 in ten months.
He also included a nutrition grant, a ) new item in the CCT, that will extend P800 monthly per family or a total of P9,600 per year.
The present P500 monthly health grant per family will also be increased to P800 or equivalent to P9,600 per year, Romualdez said.
Romualdez also discussed with the group the regularization of workers as one of his highest priorities in the Senate as “malasakit” to their plight.
He stressed the “contractualization” system must come to an end as it bars ordinary employees from making better plans for their families.
Romualdez also said he will continue to push laws that would extend additional benefits to an estimated 1.5 million PWDs like their automatic enrollment to the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Romualdez was credited for sheepherding the passage into law of his House version of the measure exempting PWDs from the payment of 12-percent VAT on certain goods and services. That is Republic Act 10754 which exempts PWDs from VAT payment on certain goods and services that President Benigno Aquino III signed last March 23, 2016.