Press Release
August 29, 2007

Villar wants vehicle registration fees to
fund pro-poor programs of LGUs

Troubled by the rising number of poor Filipinos who are provided limited access to public services due to the lack of government funding, Senate President Manny Villar proposed for the use of motor vehicle registration fees to improve the implementation of social justice programs.

In filing Senate Bill 1482, Villar proposed to allocate 20 percent of the total collection from the motor vehicle registration fees to finance and support social justice programs of local government units.

"This is a deviation from the present policy in which the collections are all allotted to fund public works and hard infrastructure projects," Villar said.

Under the bill, the services of LGUs to be funded include educational assistance and scholarships; feeding for children and hunger mitigation programs; food, rice and subsistence allowance to poor Filipinos; livelihood and assistance to employment opportunities, re-training, and skills acquisition for competitiveness, health improvement and acquisition of medicine to be distributed for free to indigent patients or the establishment of "Botica sa Barangay"; and assistance to persons with disabilities and special sectors.

"This legislation accords premium to the plight of the common man as an imperative of justice. It is time to honor the citizens with the best public services that should be provided and not simply give them an empty promise on attaining social justice," he said.

Villar, who is President of the Nacionalista Party, added that rural areas in the Philippines, which had a poverty rate of 50.7, will largely benefit from this measure once enacted into law.

"The measure will help improve employment chances and create more opportunities for the people by providing livelihood and skills trainings. Through the establishment of Botica sa Barangay, access to affordable drugs and medicine will no longer be elusive," Villar said.

In February 2007, the Social Weather Stations found that some 3.4 million households had experienced involuntary hunger at least once over the previous three months, translating to a high 17 million hungry Filipinos.

Malnutrition under age five averaged about 28 percent from 2000-2005. In 2006, there are approximately 3.41 Filipino children not enrolled in schools and not being given education.

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