Philippine catholic priests question economic growth

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Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu

Church officials in the Philippines, together with non-governmental organisations, have started to question the government’s success stories of rapid economic growth as they claim that 28 million Filipinos, or almost one third of the population, still life in poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening instead of narrowing.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, challenged president Benigno Aquino III  “to tell the truth” about the country’s economy as so many Filipinos are still “going hungry”, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Priority needs to be placed on a land reform for farmers and the rural population, the bishops said.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace, demanded on the church-run radio station Veritas 846 to distribute around 3 million acres of land to farmers as mandated by the Corazon Aquino government in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He added that farmers need to be provided training and support services so they can manage the land. Enabling farmers was essential to “uplift the lives of the poor”.

The bishops said they would want to continue the government to focus on labour export and the BPO service industry. In other sectors, laws needed to be improved to stop illegal actions and corruption, for example illegal logging in Mindanao and in the north. Investment-driven growth could only be foreseen in the mining and energy sectors, they added.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu

Church officials in the Philippines, together with non-governmental organisations, have started to question the government’s success stories of rapid economic growth as they claim that 28 million Filipinos, or almost one third of the population, still life in poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening instead of narrowing.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu

Church officials in the Philippines, together with non-governmental organisations, have started to question the government’s success stories of rapid economic growth as they claim that 28 million Filipinos, or almost one third of the population, still life in poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening instead of narrowing.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, challenged president Benigno Aquino III  “to tell the truth” about the country’s economy as so many Filipinos are still “going hungry”, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Priority needs to be placed on a land reform for farmers and the rural population, the bishops said.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace, demanded on the church-run radio station Veritas 846 to distribute around 3 million acres of land to farmers as mandated by the Corazon Aquino government in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He added that farmers need to be provided training and support services so they can manage the land. Enabling farmers was essential to “uplift the lives of the poor”.

The bishops said they would want to continue the government to focus on labour export and the BPO service industry. In other sectors, laws needed to be improved to stop illegal actions and corruption, for example illegal logging in Mindanao and in the north. Investment-driven growth could only be foreseen in the mining and energy sectors, they added.

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