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A commitment to protect the vulnerable

In the latest Tugon ng Masa survey of the OCTA Research group, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte continued to enjoy high performance ratings. Based on the survey, 80 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with Marcos, while 84 percent were satisfied with Duterte’s performance.

This goes to show that Filipinos approve of the government’s programs.

Recently, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Marcos, approved the recommendation for the Social Protection Floor (SPF), which are nationally defined set of basic social security guarantees that aim to prevent or alleviate poverty vulnerability and social exclusion, guaranteeing the provision of protection to individuals and families in times of need.

The SPF is comprised of four basic guarantees that cover the entire life cycle — health (including maternity care), children, active age, and older persons.

Under health, the SPF recommends the complete implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) to ensure that all individuals have access to adequate and accessible healthcare services.

The United Nations defines UHC as “people having access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.” As the Covid-19 pandemic further disrupted essential services in 92 percent of countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends nations to reorient health systems to primary health care.

We should also note that in the recent Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) of Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), three in 10 Filipino children are stunted. This makes them more vulnerable to Covid-19 and other illnesses, which is why the SPF for children is equally vital.

The SPF for children includes initiatives aimed at providing access to nutrition, education, care, and any other necessary goods and services. This includes enhancing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); conducting supplemental feeding programs; ensuring to provide nutritious food during calamities; addressing teenage pregnancy; providing children special protection; and extending mental and healthcare support and other services.

Meanwhile, the SPF for active age comprises initiatives that support Filipinos who are unable to earn sufficient income, including those who are part of the informal economy. Programs such as emergency employment; enrollment of all beneficiaries to livelihood programs and social security programs; enhancement of existing employment insurance; social insurance coverage for job orders and contract of service employees in the public sector; promotion of savings mobilization; employee compensation programs; and programs for Overseas Filipino Workers are part of the SPF for active age.

For older persons, the SPF aims to extend pension programs to senior citizens. Under social assistance, the government will ensure that senior citizens will receive discounts due them, have access to lifelong learning opportunities, and receive integrated health services.

The SPF is among the strategies of government to attain desired social objectives such as protecting the purchasing power of Filipino families and mitigating the harmful effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is part of the Marcos administration’s commitment to lower poverty incidence in the country.

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