MANILA,  May 22, 2004
By WENDELL VIGILIA -  Poverty alleviation is beyond partisan politics, officials of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and its Sectoral Representative Council (SRC) said yesterday.

In fact, the NAPC has prepared an agenda for the basic sectors in the first 100 days of the incoming administration, officials said at the opening of a press conference they called yesterday.

After that token nod to non-partisanship, the officials proceeded to extol President Arroyo and bashed opposition candidate Fernando Poe Jr.

Oscar Francisco, SRC vice chair for basic sectors, at the start made it clear the conference was not political since social reform should be the priority of the next president, whoever he may be.

"But for the old NAPC to have continuity in its functions, I would prefer the old system (Arroyo administration) to be retained," he said.

He said after 13 meetings with Arroyo, they were able to "wield power to influence positive changes." For an instance, he said, 107,560 indigenous people have been awarded ancestral domain land titles and 209,010 urban poor families have been awarded home sites.

"Some NGOs are outright oppositionist while some are 'sipsip.' Kami, we are independent and critical but we can be cooperative in some issues," Francisco said.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, NAPC vice chair, said: "We'll continue our six-point agenda which is anchored on poverty alleviation nang sa ganun ay maging totoo ito sa buhay ng mga mamamayan."

Soliman said the administration's foes "are fooling the people by their irresponsible claims of fraud (in the elections)."

"Paalala na 'din sa mga ilang puwersang nalilinlang ng mga tao na hindi makapaghintay ng resulta ng bilangan. Paalala na ang naghihirap ang bigyang pansin dahil sila ang unang tatamaan ng gulo," she said.

"I appeal for the political parties na ihinto ang panggugulo at panlilinlang at sundin ang proseso. Ang mahalaga ngayon ay magtulungan tayo," she said.

To prove that the government is consistent in providing services to the people, Soliman announced that both local and national governments have spent P1.9 million as assistance to victims of typhoon Dindo in Regions 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

She said 353,000 persons were affected by the typhoon, with 15 people dead, 15 hurt and 15 missing.

"We have entered the typhoon period and the government is prepared for it. Wala po tayong dapat ikabahala," she said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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