CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Yes it was a bad year

MANILA (Agencies): The year just passed was a bad one for The Philippines, Archbishop Oscar Cruz said in describing it as a highly disappointing time, primarily because of the harsh socio-economic realities.

CBCP News reported his as saying, “I call on photographers to visit certain areas in North Harbour to see how people are with poverty as it becomes the new normal. Almost all food commodities in the market are imported, if not smuggled.”

Archbishop Cruz lamented that poverty has become well-entrenched in many areas in Metro Manila, making living conditions deplorable for countless families.

“Not only food is imported, because we also imported garbage from Canada and God knows what from which other countries,” the former archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan said.

He described the president, Noynoy Aquino, of whom he is not fond as “one who’s against the people, against population, but at the same time uses people in the person of overseas Filipino workers whose remittances keep the country’s economy afloat.”

He added that there is no truth to the president’s claims that the Filipino people are his bosses, because in truth and in fact, his close collaborators, those handling public funds and appropriating them for their own benefit, are the ones who have his ear.

He said that the slogan, daang matuwid (There is no force stronger than the force of good people coming together with good leaders) is anything but matuwid.

“Where’s the newly-enacted General Appropriations Act of 2016 coming from?” the archbishop asked. He said most of the budget comes from direct and indirect taxes levied on rich and poor Filipinos.

“But a significant portion of it would come from foreign borrowing,” Archbishop Cruz added, saying that he fears the coming budget will be mishandled by government executives as in previous years.

He specifically singled out the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Conditional Cash Transfer as a programme where people are being shortchanged by some government officials.

He expressed fears that the upcoming May elections will not be free, because “when people are poor, they are not free.” He said with a government budget of over three trillion pesos ($495 billion), it should be easy to buy and sell votes.

The 81-year-old archbishop said he believes an incoming administration equipped even with “a little intelligence, could do a lot for the people.”

Having got his dislike for Aquino off his chest, Archbishop Cruz said the country has transformed itself into a country of illegal drug manufacturing, women and children up for sale through the Internet and murder, which occurs regularly, and other disturbing features.

Nevertheless, like or dislike the president, few would agree that it was a good year for the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

 

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