Church to recognize marginalized sector in ‘World Day of the Poor’
The Catholic church is calling for an end to injustices against the poor as they prepare for the celebration of the first “World Day of the Poor” on Sunday.
The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, the social arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said on Saturday that “with over 1/2 of the world’s population (over 3 billion people) living in extreme poverty, the Pope’s initiative to honor the poor is both a challenge and a celebration.”
“The initiative is a challenge for us Christians to be mindful of our actions towards the less fortunate, the underprivileged, the vulnerable and marginalized. Let us examine how our words and inactions affect those without voice and power,” Archbishop Rolando Tirona, Caritas national director, said in a statement.
The archbishop also stressed that “World Day of the Poor” is essentially a time “to offer and empty ourselves for the sake of our neighbor.”
In the Philippines, Caritas said farmers, fishermen and children, or 21.9 million Filipinos, are consistently the poorest sectors according to the 2017 poverty report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“We cannot continue to be blinded of this injustice. That is why NASSA/Caritas Philippines strive to strengthen its advocacy for the integration of humanitarian responses and development programming, just like what we are doing now in Marawi,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas’ executive secretary.
“It cannot be business as usual when dealing with our poor brothers and sisters. The government and the church must combine its resources to truly improve their plight. We can start by establishing better coordination lines during disaster response, and by being more accountable to our people,” he added.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines said it is implementing a P14-million humanitarian response in the war-torn Marawi City for over 3,000 affected families.
The projects, it said, include relief distribution, capacity building, livelihood support, community organizing and psychosocial interventions. /jpv
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