In line with her commitment to significantly reduce poverty nationwide, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has stressed the need for an active partnership between the government and various sectors to sustain efforts concerning various aspects of the schooling system. These are easing the textbook backlog; constructing more school buildings; restoring English as medium of instruction; implementing the Basic Education Curriculum or BEC ; improving teacher welfare; sparing public school teachers from the “vagaries of politics”; mainstreaming distance learning; and launching the internet-based education program.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been pushing for the expansion of small and medium enterprises through her national SME Development Agenda, believing that they are a vital engine of the Philippine economy.
Participating agencies have taken the initiative in various projects to achieve significant gains being a flagship program for poverty alleviation. The Department of Trade and Industry remains focused on the small and medium enterprises program of the government while the National Anti-Poverty Commission continues to be the champion for micro-enterprise development and open access to markets for the poor. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Science and Technology, the Social Development Committee have likewise been pursuing the promotion of SMEs. The role of Local Government Units (LGUs) has been cited in the implementation of the ‘Isang Bayan, Isang Produkto, Isang Milyong Piso’ program.
Housing efforts under the Macapagal Arroyo administration aim to provide the bottom 40 percent of households with affordable socialized housing. The private sector shall be mobilized to innovate and produce decent housing at lower costs, while the government shall be tasked to improve the efficiency of the housing market. The President has enjoined the support of Congress to enact bills addressing the high price of urban lands for housing. By putting into place a sustainable housing financing, the private sector, especially the banks, is called to participate in the housing market. The housing program shall also provide security of tenure for the informal sector, consisting of poor and low salaried workers from government and the private sector. Assistance will be extended in the form of consultations for resettlement, housing and livelihood training to affected poor families who are in danger areas.
"We want to see the election of May 2004 as a time when we cross a bold new threshold in democracy by cleaning up the voting process."
--President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
On May 10, 2004, the Philippines will hold its first elections using modern counting and canvassing methods. It is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s belief that electoral reforms, as one of the hallmarks of her administration, would help improve moral standards by helping honest people get elected through clean elections. The Comelec’s comprehensive modernization plan has three elements: the validation of voter registration, automation of vote counting and canvassing, and electronic data transmission.
In recognition and support of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) as a strategic program to fight poverty and push rural development, the Macapagal Arroyo administration has accelerated land distribution and delivery of support services to the farmer-beneficiaries. The same shall apply to the distribution of public lands.
DAR and DENR. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are the lead agencies for land distribution, agricultural lands to be distributed by DAR, while public lands to be distributed by DENR.
The Mindanao National Initiative or “Mindanao Natin” is the sound strategy for peace and development in Mindanao that is being implemented across many areas of action from security to infrastructure to education to economic growth to poverty reduction to law enforcement. Touted to be an important step towards the fulfillment of the promise of the region, Mindanao Natin aims to mobilize the local governments, civil society and the business community in the blueprint for development for Muslim Mindanao. It has been noted that Muslim Mindanao continued to be the poorest area in the country, beset by a very low literacy rate and whose economic exclusion has resulted in conflicts. Guided by four principles, the socio-economic package would be carried out in over 5,000 villages in Mindanao’s four regions- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Southcentral Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Northern Mindanao. A 10-point program has been drawn in view of the Tripoli Agreement reached by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front.
The Strong Republic Nautical Highway is one of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's major legacy to the nation. Covering 17 cities, towns and islands that will reduce by 17 hours the travel time using the usual land and sea routes, the "highways of the sea" or the "moving bridges concept" is something that could revolutionize not just business and agriculture in our island provinces, but also domestic tourism. The nautical highway will provide the backbone for the development of tourism and agricultural industries, by enhancing the accessibility of unique tourist destinations west of the Philippines. It would minimize the handling expenses and time travel for goods, resulting in reduced prices for consumers. There will be less need for loading the goods on and off barges, as cargo trucks themselves can get on the ro-ro. The biggest beneficiaries would be our island provinces.
The Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya is the government's concrete response to address the heavy burden of high medicine prices on the Filipino consumers. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the immediate implementation of this program that will improve public access to quality healthcare. The program involves the importation of widely recognized, off-patent branded medicines which are usually prescribed for the most common ailments and diseases. These medicines shall be made available to Filipino consumers at very affordable prices.
The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (KALAHI) program is an anti- poverty initiative of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The project will assist the government in strengthening the capability of local government units (LGUs) to design, implement, and manage development activities. Such activities may include basic infrastructure like new or rehabilitated roads and bridges, barangay schools and clinics, and water supply and sanitation facilities. Communities will prioritize their development needs, design activities, seek technical expertise and make informed choices on how resources are used for sustainable poverty reduction. More than 5,300 poor barangays in 193 municipalities in 40 of the poorest provinces in the Philippines are expected to benefit from this project. These will be mostly in rural areas, where most poor Filipinos live.