01/24/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Church sounds the alarm, tells government to do something against poverty

by Santosh Digal
After the recent release of the latest economic data a delegation of 20 bishops meets government leaders to express their concern for the growing gap between rich and poor and the exploitation of farmers and miners.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Following the release of government economic data, Filipino bishops have called on the government to do something substantial to reduce the gap between rich and poor in Filipino society. As “shepherds of the flock,” 20 members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines visited the Presidential Palace to discuss the issue.

The gap between haves and have-nots in the Philippines is widening, with the richest 10 per cent of families raking in more than a third of the country's total income, whilst some 60 per cent live below the poverty line. The average family income now stands at 12 dollars a day, with few families able to accumulate any savings.

“We took advantage of the occasion to talk about what afflicts the faithful. Poverty is the leading problem but there is also a need for infrastructures and improvements, especially in the field of health care,” Tuguegarao Archbishop Diosdado Palamayan told AsiaNews.

In their plea the bishops also voiced concern for the conditions of farmers and miners who are increasingly exploited by multinationals in the name of unfettered economic growth.

The government responded saying that it would give its “utmost attention” to the points raised and pledged that it would address the problem of poverty next month.

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