The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to address pressing problems affecting Filipinos today.
In a statement, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of the organization, urged the new administration to tackle the problems “head-on.”
Among the challenges cited by the prelate is poverty, especially in the provinces.
Quoting the Philippine Statistics Authority, the prelate said poverty incidence among Filipinos rose to 23.7 percent in the first semester of 2021, equivalent to 26.1 million Filipinos.
The figures are higher than what were recorded in 2018, when the poverty incidence was 21.1 percent, 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 will also be a challenge for the government, said Bishop Bagaforo.
As Marcos will head the Agriculture department, “he also needs to address the plight of farmers versus imported agricultural products,” the prelate said.
He said the situation was “worsened” in particular by the Rice Tariffication Law that paved the way for more imported rice reaching the Philippines.
The Caritas Philippines statement reiterated its pledge to continue to foster “principled cooperation” with the government.
Bishop Bagaforo said the Church will work with the government on initiatives that will respect the rights and dignity of the Filipino people.