PUERTO PRINCESA City, Palawan, August 3, 2014 —Bishop Pedro Arigo, who heads the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, calls for “political conversion”, stressing it is high time government officials have it.
The prelate shared, “The system of greed, the selfishness, and the materialism prevent us from to standing up as one political force. What we really need if we really want to go to the bottom, to the root of it all, is political conversion.”
The prelate maintains that while a political system and the people running it lack political conversion, Filipinos will have no hope of seeing their lives changed for the better.
Arigo explained there is no way that what President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) touted as “trickle down effect” in the growth of the economy can reach the Filipino grassroots, if greed for power and excessive love for self are what drive local politicians into action.
He noted, “What the government claims as trickle down effect hardly trickles down, that’s why those on the grassroots level are disappointed for not feeling the supposed benefits of the economic progress. When you look at the bigger pciture, you can see something’s wrong with the system, that even PNoy or any other leader gets elected, the same things will happen over and over again, and we’re doomed.”
As long as corruption and the pillaging of the national coffers are the norm, the bishop pointed out, the worsening incidence of poverty will see no end.
Arigo also faulted the imbalanced way in which government tries to root out poverty in the country, focusing only in developing Metro Manila and the urban areas to the neglect of Filipinos living in far-flung provinces like Palawan.
“In Palawan alone poverty incidence reaches as high as 63.8 percent—almost 64 percent—of the population. Either rural development is lacking or none at all. And because Metro Manila gets all the projects, it’s little wonder rural folks keep going their, aggravating urban congestion,” he added.
A Social Weather Station (SWS) survey conducted in June 2014 shows that 16.3% of the current total Philippine population, equivalent to 3.6 million people, experience hunger at one point.
The same study reveals that 55% of (or 12.1 million) Filipino families consider themselves poor. (Raymond A. Sebastián)