A poverty expert from a Jesuit group has faulted the Roman Catholic Church for the permanence of poverty in the Philippines.
‚ÄúThe Catholic Church is failing its people, the poor. The Church is not there with them,‚ÄĚ said Mary Racelis of the Institute of Philippine Culture (IPC).
‚ÄúDespite all the evidence from various sources, the Christianity exposed by the CBCP [Catholics Bishops‚Äô Conference of the Philippines], many of us found that it‚Äôs not helping with reality,‚ÄĚ Racelis, 80, added.
She spoke during a forum on defining the Filipino poor by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Citing social-cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, Racelis defined the poor as ‚Äúthose who experience material deprivation, lack of security, dignity and the desperation of chronic and powerless victims; high risks and costs in their lives but few comforts; inequality materialized.‚ÄĚ
Statistically, National Economic and Development Authority‚Äôs (Neda) Myrna Asuncion said the poverty incidence increased to 26.5 percent in 2009, translated to a total of 23.14 million individuals regarded as poor.
The increase is 0.1 percentage points higher than in 2006, when the government recorded 22.17 million poor individuals.
‚ÄúData shows that while poverty incidence declined between 1991 and 2009, the rate of decline has been exceedingly slow. There were even periods when the poverty incidence increased despite the above-average economic growth,‚ÄĚ Asuncion said in the same forum.
Asuncion, Neda assistant director, added that ‚Äúfor every percentage-point increase in income growth in the Philippines, poverty incidence falls by about 1.5 percentage points.‚ÄĚ
However, ‚Äúthis is weak compared to the 2.9 to 3.5 percentage points for high-performing economies and the 2.5 average for a set of 47 developing countries.‚ÄĚ [More]