King Mohammed VI has hailed the sincere and spontaneous solidarity shown by all Moroccans, inside and outside the country, towards the inhabitants of the areas that were affected by a devastating earthquake on September 8 and vowed that the impacted areas shall be rehabilitated and reconstructed.
This came in a Speech the Sovereign delivered this Friday October 13 at the opening of the fall session of the Parliament and that was held in the presence of President of the World Bank Group Ajay Banga, and General Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva.
It was the will of Almighty God that a tragic earthquake should strike our country, leaving behind thousands of martyrs and injuring a great many people – may they recover quickly, with God’s help.
The Sovereign said that the tragic earthquake “has been a most painful experience which has affected us all, the King and the people, from Tangiers to Lagouira, from the east to the west of our country.”
“Earthquakes cause destruction, but we intend to rehabilitate and rebuild the devastated areas,” he vowed, stressing the need “to continue providing assistance to the stricken families, to speed up rehabilitation and reconstruction in the affected areas, and to make sure basic services are available.”
Hailing the solidarity shown by Moroccans following the tragic tremor, the King pointed out that “beyond the horrific nature of the tragedy, what alleviates our suffering and, indeed, makes us proud, is the reaction of civil society and of all Moroccans – in the homeland and abroad – who have shown heartfelt, spontaneous solidarity with their afflicted brothers and sisters.”
The Sovereign also commended the Royal Armed Forces and the various emergency and security agencies, government authorities and local governments for the sacrifices they have been making to rescue and assist the people living in the stricken regions. He likewise reiterated thanks to “our friends and to sister nations that showed solidarity with the Moroccan people and stood by us during those painful circumstances.”
“This tragedy has shown that authentic Moroccan values have prevailed. They have enabled our country to overcome adversity and crises, again making us not only stronger, but also more determined to forge ahead, with unwavering confidence and optimism,” he stated further.
That is the spirit and those are the lofty values ingrained in our DNA. We see them as the cornerstone of our unity and of the cohesion of Moroccan society.
These rallying national values are enshrined in the Kingdom’s Constitution. They apply to and are embodied by all the components of our authentic Moroccan identity and are also fully in line with universal values.
“This is what makes Morocco a model of coexistence between Moroccans, Muslims, and Jews alike. Ours is a country in which other faiths and cultures are duly respected,” explained the Monarch.
He also cited the national values underpinning the Moroccan nation, and which are based on the monarchy. The latter is unanimously supported by all Moroccans; it brings together all components of the Moroccan people. Its pillar is the strong cohesion and the mutual allegiance – Bei’a – between the throne and the people.
“Love of the homeland and unanimity on the nation’s unity and territorial integrity are among Morocco’s long-standing, immutable values which unite Moroccans, and which bring together all the constitutive components of our rich, diverse, yet unified identity,” underlined the King.
He underlined the values of solidarity and social cohesion between groups, generations, and regions, saying this makes Moroccan society closely-knit, with different segments supporting and reinforcing one another.
“We call for continued adherence to these values because they consolidate our national unity and family cohesion; they also preserve human dignity and enhance social justice,” said the King.
In line with the spirit of these national values, which deem the family and family bonds to be sacred, the Monarch said he addressed a letter to the Head of Government asking for a review of the Family Code as the family is the pillar of society.
“Society will not function properly if the family is not cohesive or is imbalanced. Family disintegration makes societies lose their moral compass,” said the King.
Therefore, “I have been working to enhance our identity through major projects. Among these is the large-scale social protection project, which I consider a pillar of our social and development model,” affirmed the King, saying that Morocco will begin the implementation of the program for the provision direct social assistance at the end of this year.
To give concrete substance to the values of social solidarity, which are deeply ingrained in Moroccans, “I have decided that this program should not be limited to the payment of family allowances. I have made sure it also includes some social segments that need support,” underlined the Moroccan Sovereign.
This assistance will concern school-age children as well as children with disabilities, newborn babies, and also impoverished and vulnerable families without school-age children, especially those supporting elderly people, he explained.
Thanks to its direct impact, this program will contribute to raising the standard of living of target families and will help fight poverty and vulnerability, in addition to improving social and human development indicators.
“Society is more productive and proactive when it is deeply committed to solidarity. It also becomes more resilient to contingences and fluctuations,” said the King, calling on the government to adopt a comprehensive approach for the implementation of this program, in keeping with the principles of the framework law on social protection adopted by Parliament.
This program will be implemented in a gradual manner, taking into account the funds allocated, the optimal scope of the coverage, the amounts to be disbursed and how the assistance is to be managed.
“It should also be a model of successful implementation, based on the system for targeting beneficiaries under the unified social registry, making sure modern technology is properly leveraged”, said the King, stressing the need to uphold the principles of solidarity, transparency and equity, and to provide assistance to those who deserve it.
He also urged the government to give priority to the rationalization of current social benefit schemes and ensure their effectiveness as well as the sustainability of their financing.
The King stressed the need to uphold the principles of good governance for the implementation of this project with the setting up of a special monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the project’s continuous development and evaluation.