The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987 when over a hundred thousand people from all walks of life gathered at the Plaza of Human Rights and Liberties (that time the place is named Trocadero Plaza) in Paris, France to honor the victims of extreme poverty, hunger, violence, and ignorance. The site is also the place where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948.
The people gathered upon the appeal of Father Joseph Wresinski, a French Catholic priest and founder of All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World Movement. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. These convictions were inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on that day.
Since then, people of all backgrounds, beliefs and social origins have gathered every year on October 17th to renew their commitment and show their solidarity with the poor. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been unveiled around the world, and serve as a convergence point to celebrate the Day.
In appreciation of the non-government organizations initiative, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 47/196 declaring October 17th as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) on 22 December 1992, and invited all States to devote the day in presenting and promoting, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.
In response, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed Proclamation No. 269 in October 4, 1993 declaring October 17 of every year as the National Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty in observance of the ATD Fourth World-led “World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty.” On October 17th of the same year, President Ramos unveiled at Rizal Park a replica of the “Commemorative Stone in Honor of the Victims of Extreme Poverty.” It has since become the site of the annual commemoration organized by the National Anti-Poverty Commission in partnership with the ATD Fourth World Philippines, National Parks Development Council and City Government of Manila. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been established in the cities of Davao (1994) and Ozamiz (2001) and in the municipalities of Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur (2007), Barotac Viejo, Iloilo (2008), and Buenavista, Quezon (2008).
On 18th of October 2004, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 717 declaring the period of October 17-23 as the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty (NWOEP). The proclamation designated NAPC to lead, coordinate, monitor and evaluate the nationwide yearly observance of NWOEP in coordination with key partners and stakeholders in poverty reduction.
- To make the public aware of the week-long commemoration and instil in them the virtues and principles espoused by the observance which is the refusal of extreme poverty and the respect of human rights, dignity, and freedom;
- To support the international campaign to end extreme poverty;
- To recognize and appreciate the various initiatives of poor communities and local government units in uplifting the lives of poor Filipinos; and
- To invite more stakeholders to join in the fight against poverty and build a critical mass to ensure a greater chance of effectively eradicating poverty at the soonest time.