Caritas challenges Marcos to address poverty, oil price hikes

June 30, 2022 - 5:22 PM
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines. (CBCP News)

The social action arm of the Catholic Church called on newly sworn-in President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to address the pressing problems affecting Filipinos today.

Caritas Philippines national director Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo urged the new administration to tackle the problems “head-on”.

Among these challenges, according to him, is poverty especially in the countryside.

The poverty incidence among Filipinos rose to 23.7% in the first semester of 2021, equivalent to 26.1 million Filipinos, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

The figures are higher than what were recorded in 2018, when the poverty incidence was 21.1%, equivalent to 22.26 million Filipinos.

This translates to 3.9 million more Filipinos living in poverty.

Rising prices of basic goods and the oil price hike, the bishop said, will also be a challenge for the government.

As Marcos will head the Agriculture department, “he also needs to address the plight of farmers versus imported agricultural products,” Bagaforo said.

READ: Marcos says food sufficiency urgent issue

He said this was “worsened” in particular by the Rice Tariffication Law that paved the way for more imported rice to reach the Philippines.

Caritas reiterated it will continue to foster “principled cooperation” with the government.

Bagaforo said the Church will work with the government on initiatives that will respect the rights and dignity of the Filipino people.