Press Release
April 20, 2010

We're at war with poverty;
I'm the better 'general' - Villar

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday said that majority of Filipinos have better chances of improved lives under his administration, than under Liberal Party's Benigno Aquino III who has neither the competence nor the experience to take on a Herculean task such as poverty alleviation.

Reacting to Social Weather Stations (SWS) report that the number of Filipino families who feel poor has fallen to a record low but hunger remains near the record high, Villar said that the crux of the matter remains - at least one third of Filipinos are poor and need urgent government attention and help in one way or another.

"I am hoping that our people can discern who among us is best suited for the job. We are at war with poverty, and battles must be won at all forefronts. And just like any war, you cannot expect to be victorious if your army is being led by an incompetent and inexperienced general such as Aquino. It will be a case of a blind leading the blind," Villar said.

The SWS survey found 43 percent or an estimated 8.1 million families rating themselves as poor. The figure is similar to the 1987 level. At the same time, 21.2 percent or about four million households said they experienced having nothing to eat in the last three months.

"Ending poverty is my main thrust. I was once poor and I was able to reverse my fortune through hard work and perseverance. Aquino doesn't know how it is like to be poor, and he is clueless on life's many realities and you cannot expect him to solve a problem so alien and irrelevant to him. Besides, he has no track record to speak of," Villar added.

Villar agreed with the SWS finding though that declining living standards could best explain the record-low poverty self-assessment with high incidence of hunger. According to the same SWS report, living standards have dropped so low that many families do not rate themselves as poor even if they suffered from hunger recently.

"It should not be business as usual for the next government. I have the vision, I am an experienced leader, and my past achievements - both as an entrepreneur and government official, will speak for themselves. If I get elected, I say we will end poverty and start working on it on Day One. I intend to inspire and bring hope to the people, and I have my track record to back them up," he said.

Villar had been advocating entrepreneurship as one of the key steps toward a more progressive Philippines.

He vowed to ensure that all available resources, assistance, expertise and support are made available to entrepreneurs - through microfinancing and other funding programs, through infrastructure support, and most of all through proper guidance and governance.

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