MANILA, Oct. 3, 2014— The Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) plans to produce a module including “Poverty Summit” among the activities it is set to spearhead for the entire “Year of the Poor” which will start on November 23, officially ending the “Year of the Laity”.
In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Fr. Eric Adoviso, commissioner of RCAM’s Social Service and Development Ministry, shared that this summit aims to provide a platform allowing people from the poorest sector to discuss various issues and concerns affecting them with their pastors.
“The Poverty Summit is for the bishops to listen to the grievances of their poor flock. We intend to do this all throughout 2015 in keeping with Pope Francis’ vision-mission that ours is a ‘poor church serving the poor with mercy and compassion’,” said Adoviso.
The priest added that testimonials to be given by the poor will be central to the national retreat for priests RCAM intends to hold.
In its pastoral exhortation “To Bring Glad Tidings to the Poor”, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called poverty “a social scandal for which we cannot just blame government”, stressing the “need to understand our role in it, our personal responsibility for it in our individual lives and shared cultures, and return to Jesus”.
While the CBCP recognizes advances in Philippine society in the areas of education, economy, peace in Mindanao, the war against corruption, and others, it admits with Pope Francis that 28% of Filipinos “are barely living from day to day.”
According to CBCP President Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, the income gap between rich and poor Filipinos has not closed given that the richest 10% of the population earn ten times as much as the poorest 10%, with the income of the richest families “soaring way beyond the income of the poorest”.
“These are figures that have not yet captured the devastation wrought by the standoff in Zamboanga, the earthquake in Bohol, and Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas,” Villegas added. (Raymond A. Sebastián)