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Don’t ‘discard’ the poor – CBCP head urges APEC leaders

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Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

MANILA, Nov. 16, 2015— A ranking Church official called on global leaders attending a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Manila to make policies that would “empower” the poor and the marginalized.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said APEC leaders should roll out inclusive reforms that would improve the living conditions of the poor.

According to him, empowering the poor also means letting their voices be heard, saying it is one of the best ways to fight poverty.

More than dole-outs

“It’s not just about helping the poor that way. It’s about empowering the poor so they are heard because we are so used to looking at the poor as recipients of help,” Villegas said.

“I think we should change the mindset when we look at the poor as people with voices but they are not heard. They are not just recipients of help, they must be heard,” he said.

Some of the world’s most powerful leaders and other officials are arriving in Manila this week for the Nov. 18-19 summit.

Among them include Presidents Barack Obama of the United States, Xi Jinping of China, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Empowerment

The prelate said all economies should benefit as many people as possible “because growth, to be growth, cannot be exclusive.”

“It should always include especially those experiencing hardships, those who are forgotten,” he added.

The CBCP head also said the poor should be empowered through education, freedom to express themselves among others.

“Don’t equate the poor with simply giving help, giving aid through dole outs, because that’s not what they are asking. Instead, let us afford them with an active voice in worldly decisions to be made,” he said. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)


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