‘No relocation, no demolition’
(The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Shanties of squatters would not be demolished until the government finds a suitable relocation site, President Duterte said as he vowed to find ways to uplift the lives of the poor.

“During my time, there will be no demolition if there is no relocation. I won’t let it happen,” Duterte said during the fellowship dinner of the San Beda College of Law alumni at Malacañang last Sunday.

“If you destroy their houses, they have nowhere to go. Ano, parang aso (What, like dogs)?” he said.

Duterte promised to generate funds and spur economic activity so that the poor can have sources of livelihood.

“I would be very generous to them. I’d look for money. That’s what we want to do. We will go for a suitable relocation,” the President said.  

“We have to build new industries. We have to create an activity, economic or otherwise,” he added. 

Duterte said he already informed Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay that he needs a lot of money because he has “so many problems.”

“I have to address the economic conditions of everybody, including and perhaps first those who are poor,” he added.

Duterte said he has reminded Dulay to be strict in collecting taxes to ensure that the government has enough funds for its anti-poverty programs.

The President, in particular, instructed internal revenue officials to strictly enforce laws on tax-free importation of goods.

Before he assumed office, Duterte said he wants to establish economic zones outside Metro Manila to create jobs for the poor and to promote development in the countryside. 

He said the economic zones would serve as trading centers and relocation sites for informal settlers in congested Manila.

“I intend to spend most of the money for this year to alleviate hunger and poverty. Then I will ask the engineers, I will look for land, we will build eco zones,” Duterte said in a press conference last May.

“I have to build a new environment for the people. I will place them in eco zones and provide them assistance. I will build hospitals there. There will be economic activity,” he added.

Poverty incidence among Filipinos went down to 26.3 percent in the first half of 2015 due to higher incomes, government data showed. Subsistence incidence or the proportion of Filipinos living in extreme poverty was estimated at 12.1 percent in the same period.

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