Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol on Wednesday, December 7 said he already submits to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on December 19 a poverty alleviation program for the island province of Sulu designed to cut poverty incidence in the province by 25 percent in three years.
Pinol said the “Save Sulu Project” was in line with the directive issued him by President Duterte last September after the Chief Executive met with former Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, who decried massive poverty as prime reason behind the recruitment of Suluanos by extremist groups, including the Abu Sayyaf.
“The President ordered me to come up with a poverty alleviation program for Sulu to match the military component of our government’s efforts so we can achieve peace in the province,” said Pinol.
The Go-Negosyo group, led by Presidential Consultant on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, participated in crafting the poverty alleviation program.
The DA Secretary said the poverty alleviation program includes development of the island province’s telecommunications system, power supply, road system, and the local economy so the people will have regular income and would be less vulnerable to recruitment by extremist elements.
Pinol noted that with the help of Concepcion, the government has secured the commitment of business leaders like San Miguel Corporation, businessman Manuel Pangilinan’s PLDT, Bounty Fresh, Henry Lim, Rosario Chui to pour in investments in infrastructure and local agriculture and business to beef up the poverty alleviation project.
“Poverty incidence in Sulu is at 61 percent (of the local population) and as always (the government is setting) a poverty reduction target of 25 percent within three years. This will be a continuing project,” he added.