Address poverty, Church prods APEC leaders

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CHURCH leaders called on the heads of states and economic leaders of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to include in their agenda concrete actions on how to effectively address the twin problem of hunger and poverty in the Philippines.

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Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo on Monday said that any claim of economic prosperity can be measured by the so-called “trickle down theory” which means that a growing economy should be felt by the grassroots level.

“I’m sure that no economic philosophy in the present time will follow a strict Trickledown Theory. But the benefits of trickle down economic development first go to the already developed sections of society — big businesses. Along time, the benefits will go down to the poor. We think that it should be turned around,” Quevedo said in an interview aired on Church-run Radyo Veritas.

He cited an earlier pastoral letter by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) encouraging the government not only to improve the country’s economy but to uplift the lives of the poor.

“The bishops of the Philippines wrote a pastoral exhortation in 1998 on the economy. We entitled that pastoral letter ‘Economy with a Human Face.’ And the human face speaks about the development of the poor people. And we should not be avidly following a trickle down economy system but something that is bottom–up, from the bottom the poor people, so that the poor people can feel and enjoy the benefits of the development of economic development,” the prelate said.

Earlier, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo expressed dismay over the government’s move to hide the poor from foreign delegates who will attend the four-day APEC Summit in Manila.

Pabillo was reacting to reports that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) temporarily relocated informal settlers, particularly those living along designated routes where APEC delegates will pass.

“It’s a knee-jerk solution. They wanted to pretend or make it appear that there are no poor people in our country. Why don’t they look for a long-term solution for our poor people?” Pabillo said.

He also called on APEC leaders to come out with a program for the poor particularly in Asia. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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