CBCP CHIDES AQUINO FOR SNUBBING FARMERS

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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has chided President Benigno Aquino 3rd for allegedly not meeting with some coconut farmers who marched 7,150 kilometers from Davao City to Manila to seek a dialogue with him on the coconut levy. CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Monday said the government appears to ignore the plight of the farmers from the Kilusan para sa Ugnayan ng mga Samahang Magniniyog (Kilos Magniniyog). On September 21, the Kilos Magniniyog started marching from Davao City to Malacañang Palace in Manila to call for the creation of a P71-billion coconut trust fund. Villegas said the Catholic Church is hoping that the government will take time to heed appeals from the poor who, he added, are exploited by prevailing social injustice. “My fear, as president of CBCP, is that our coconut farmers are, by a cruel turn of circumstances, becoming part of the weaker if not weakest members of society, victims of those who, in an unprincipled and un-Christian manner, exploit the defenselessness of the economically harassed,” he noted. “I join the protest against this marginalization of our coconut farmers and call on the government to demonstrate its resolve at social justice in their favor,” Villegas said.
ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ

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