Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bishop blames bad economic policies for rising hunger

MANILA, January 31, 2012— A Catholic bishop has blamed the government’s economic policy as the culprit behind the rising incidence of hunger in the country, the auxiliary bishop of Manila said.

Simply giving people with financial aid is not enough to prevent famine, said Bishop Broderick Pabillo. Instead, he said, the government needs to overhaul the policies that upended the food supply.
That is why the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed the rising number of Filipinos who are experiencing hunger did not came as a surprise for the prelate.
One problem, according to him, is the Aquino administration lack of concrete programs to address the issue.
“There’s no specific program aside from the CCT (Conditional Cash Transfer) but it’s not the answer. We need a structural policy for sustainable growth,” Pabillo said.
Pabillo also chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Based on the SWS survey conducted from Dec.3 to 7, 2011, while the country’s poverty rate dropped at the end of 2011, the hunger rate went up during the same period.
The poll found that those who claimed to be experiencing hunger climbed from 21.5 percent (about 4.1 families) in September last year to 22.5 percent (about 4.5 million families) in December.
The survey, which used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide, also showed that severe hunger rose in all areas except in Metro Manila, where it fell by 1.3 points to 5 percent.
The hunger rate rose by 9.7 points to 25 percent in the Visayas and by 6.7 points to 19.7 percent in Mindanao.
Bishop Pabillo attributed such problem in the countryside to the government’s inability to implement genuine reforms in agrarian and labor issues.
“One big problem is on land reform which causes hunger,” he said. “Other problems include the contractualization, lack of job generation and low wages for workers.”
The Church official also lamented the Aquino administration’s subservience to the business sector over the people struggling of poverty.
“As of now, business interests win out over the poor under,” Pabillo said. [Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews]


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