Miriam Santiago vows more rural jobs to decongest Manila
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago eyes to solve the overpopulation of Metro Manila by providing more jobs and railway systems in rural areas.
Santiago said on Tuesday, March 29, that, if elected president, she would prioritize jobs creation in the countryside so that people would not have to relocate in the country’s capital region.
She also pledged to build new railway systems that would connect nearby provinces – such as Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna – to Manila. She also plans a modern transit system that reaches Sorsogon in the Bicol region. (READ: The Leader I Want: Miriam Santiago's to-fix list for 2016)
An online poll conducted in June 2015 by the Department of Labor and Employment and JobStreet.com found that 75% of Filipinos wish to work within their hometowns rather than explore opportunities outside. It had 31,000 respondents.
To improve labor conditions in the provinces, Santiago, a former agrarian reform secretary, also plans to address the poor condition of the country’s agriculture. She said it would directly alleviate the poverty situation in the country. She noted that farmers and other workers in agriculture are among the poorest of the poor in the Philippines.
“For the income and productivity of farmers to grow, the government should attract rather than chase out private capital in the agriculture sector. We must also match private capital with public investment,” she said in a statement.
To deliver this promise, the senior senator’s agenda would include investing in farm-to-market roads, irrigation and water-impounding facilities. (READ: Modern airport, train systems: Miriam vows better public infra)
She would also consider refining the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program to better suit the needs of those in the agricultural sector.
“Grant-for-produce programs may be put in place in rural areas, following the logic of grant-for-work programs we will implement in urban poor communities. This means that incentives will be provided to more productive farmers,” Santiago said.
Santiago said she will ease the manner of doing business for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to thrive. Her agenda includes streamlining licensing procedures, resolving the power crisis and easing trade facilitation measures in the country.
She also remains open to lifting the constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses in the country.
“Preparing our local government units to accommodate FDI (foreign direct investments) is the same as encouraging more Filipinos to put up their MSMEs. The complaints about red tape and lack of transparency are the same,” the senator said.
Still at the tail end of major pre-election surveys, Santiago skipped the second leg of the official presidential debates held in Cebu. She said she had to participate in a free medical trial of an anti-cancer drug that will normally cost her P3 million every 3 weeks. – Patty Pasion / Rappler.com
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