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Poverty reduction reports to highlight 2nd pre-SONA forum

The government’s anti-poverty program will take center stage in the second of the three-part pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2018 Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Wednesday.

The Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC), as well as the Participatory Governance Cluster (PGC) will report their respective accomplishments in a forum subtitled, “Tatak ng Malasakit at Pagkakaisa”.

HDPRC chairperson Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo will speak on key policies, programs and initiatives to address poverty while PGC co-chairmen, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Interior and Local Government OIC Eduardo Año, will talk about open government and participatory governance reforms.

During the first pre-SONA Forum last Friday, Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco explained that the forum is part of a "reformatted" 2018 SONA to allow Duterte “to speak more freely” on matters he would like to share to more than 100 million Filipinos.

Under the new cluster system, the bureaucracy has been divided into six clusters -- Economic Development (EDC); Infrastructure (IC); Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CCAMC); Security, Justice, and Peace (SJPC); HDPRC; and PGC.

"All the six clusters were required to come up with their 'good governance' framework as a cross-cutting theme,” Evasco said.

EDC chairperson and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and IC chairman Public Works Secretary Mark Villar last Friday presented the policies, programs and projects implemented during the second year of the Duterte administration.

In his report, Dominguez cited a Social Weather Stations survey last March that said fewer families have rated themselves poor.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Secretariat Head of the Economic and Infrastructure clusters, also talked about the country’s economic performance during the first pre-SONA forum.

The CCAMC and SJPC will report their accomplishments on July 18, five days before President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers his third SONA. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s next SONA will be delivered “straight from the heart.”

According to Roque, Duterte has also said he will read his SONA speech, which will be over in not more than 35 minutes.

Roque said there is no need for Duterte to repeat what the Cabinet clusters have reported during the pre-SONA Forum themed, "Tatak ng Pagbabago".

“It is shorter since we had pre-SONA led by various chairmen of the Cabinet cluster committees,” Roque said.

Jelly Musico / PNA