FORMER Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz on Monday warned that the government’s failure to address widespread poverty may result in chaos or war.
Cruz likened the situation to a volcano which may erupt anytime, citing in particular the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
He noted that a government’s primary consideration should always be the greater good and to attain inclusive growth.
“I am not saying that there should be equality, that is difficult to attain. Common good lamang, walang naiiwan sa labas ng lipunan (There should be common good, no one should be left out),” Cruz said.
“If there is no common good, therefore there is no common welfare, there is no public service and that is a very, very mortal reality. Karaniwan kasi may kaya, merong nasa gitna at mahihirap, yan ang socio economic categories ng isang lipunan, itong phenomenon na ito this is like a volcano that will erupt in due time, huwag naman sana,” said Cruz in Radyo Veritas’ Truth Forum.
Cruz noted that the middle class is slowly disappearing, while more are getting poorer and the rich getting richer.
“What is left are the poorest of the poor while the rich are also decreasing in number. It cannot be, one day it will explode and would be the cause of chaos. It cannot remain like that where some are wallowing in good life while others can hardly eat,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hernandi Panganiban, chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), said no poverty alleviation program will succeed if there is no sustainability.
Panganiban put the government to task in providing the urban poor with funds for housing but without the basic services like electricity, water, education and livelihood.
“We have 300 relocation sites nationwide, 28 of them in Metro Manila. We are monitoring them, it is not the fault of the urban poor, like the 20,000 families provided with funds for housing, but without the basic services,” he added. “As Pope Francis has said, the government needs to redirect its system on how to approach and return the dignity of the urban poor.”