MANILA, May 26, 2011â€”The continuing apathy towards the poor has spurred the Catholic Churchâ€™s social action arm to hold a National Poverty Summit.
The National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) said it is another effort to understand poverty from the perspective of the poor themselves.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa executive secretary, claimed that the current economic policies are going towards a direction â€œno differentâ€ from the past administration.
â€œIf we look at the Philippine Development Plan, for example, itâ€™s like only a few are going to benefit from it again,â€ Gariguez said.
It is also evident, he said, in the allocations of the national budget for 2011 which, according to him, has lopsided priorities.
â€œAll in all, it seems like thereâ€™s nothing new really,â€ he said.
The purpose of the summit, Gariguez said, is to determine the real causes of poverty and decide â€œwhich way to take.â€
â€œLetâ€™s discontinue the lapses of the past administration,â€ he said. â€œCurrent economic policies which do not really benefit the people should be improved.â€
Organized by Nassa, the summit is convened together with other government agencies on agriculture, agrarian reform, health, labor, education,social welfare, in conjunction with basic sectors and non-government organizations.
Gariguez said it will be held on June 4-5 but convenors are yet to decide on its exact venue in Manila.
He said around 300 participants from different marginalized sectors will be attending along with Catholic bishops, priests and the religious.
The Church official is hoping the event would gather the broadest inputs on the governmentâ€™s programs and policy directions and the way by which poverty will be eradicated.
He also said that peopleâ€™s participation may also be harnessed in partnership with the government.
The gathering, Gariguez added, will also look into the countryâ€™s progress in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially in education and poverty reduction.
He said recommendations will be made on how to address such pressing issues to food insecurity, vulnerability to climate change and the impact of the global change. (CBCPNews)