MANILA, Jan. 1, 2015—GDP, MRT-LRT, CCT, and more.
Some problems left unresolved in 2014 will creep their way into 2015, setting the tone of the New Year, laments one high-ranking Church official.
Even as the government boasts an alleged growth in the national economy’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an unimpressed Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo waives off this claim citing a survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) in the fourth quarter of 2014 which reports that 52% of the Philippine population, or roughly 11.4 million families, still consider themselves poor.
In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, the prelate, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), counted the impending Metro Rail Transit-Light Rail Transit (MRT-LRT) fare hike among the things he expects will continue to impoverish Filipinos.
Despite its noble intentions, Pabillo also regrets that the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT), more popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pinoy Program (4 P’s), is plagued by an issue concerning “ghost beneficiaries” .
The bishop calls attention to the controversies involving supposedly already incapacitated high-profile criminals who have thumbed their noses at the justice system, doing “business as usual” from “posh” maximum-security cells.
Moreover, Pabillo regrets that Mindanao’s non-Muslim natives, especially the Lumads, have yet to be consulted regarding the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The prelate adds the rising incidence of urban poverty in Metro Manila; mining; the “long-overdue” Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill; and the dispute over West Philippine Sea are old issues begging urgent solutions this 2015. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)