SENATE Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday came to the defense of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who received a failing grade from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for his inability to harness growth to wipe out poverty in the country, saying that it is not the time for criticism.
Cayetano, a “born again” Christian, appealed to the Catholic leaders to be more patient and constructive with their suggestions.
The senator pointed out that despite the Aquino administration’s efforts in alleviating poverty, full economic progress takes time. He likewise cited the 1.156 million jobs generated in 2011, which were aimed at uplifting Filipinos from the poverty line.
Cayetano also mentioned the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino administration, which he claimed to have yielded tremendous success, vastly increasing the beneficiaries from 800,000 under the previous administration to 3.8 million under the present administration.
“We all want the poor to feel the effects of economic growth. Personally, I want lower prices (of commodities), more jobs, and higher income for all Filipino families especially the poor,” Cayetano said in his appeal to the CBCP.
On the other hand, Bishop Broderick Pabillio, CBCP national secretariat for social action, earlier said that he gave the President a grade of three out of 10 because the overhyped economic growth has not reached the poor yet, amidst reports of the 7.8 growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter of 2013.
Based on the survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS), hunger incidence in the country during the first quarter of 2013 has increased by 600,000 as compared to the same period last year.