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CBCP head pushes fight vs corruption and poverty, slams 'depopulation' anew

December 31, 2010 2:29pm
As the world prepares for the coming of a new year, the head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines once again called on Filipinos to fight corruption and poverty, even as he took yet another swipe at artificial contraception being promoted by the government.

CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar lamented the "same dehumanizing conditions" of poverty, injustice and unpeace are still part of the "disturbing reality" that continues to hound Filipinos.

"We usually begin the New Year with well wishes and a salvo of noble resolves. But, before our illusions consume us, let us first be awakened by this disturbing reality: What awaits the majority of Filipinos in the year ahead, much as we hope for the better, perhaps are still the same dehumanizing conditions of poverty, injustice, and unpeace," he said in his New Year message posted early Friday on the CBCP news site.

He said joblessness, homelessness, the growing number of landless farmers and the dislocation of tribal groups are among the few indications of “dehumanizing situation."

Odchimar pushed for measures to fight corruption as a means to end poverty, saying corruption has been a radical cause of misery among Filipinos.

"There have been measures led by the government and by some other private institutions that fight poverty. The most conspicuous among others is the campaign against corruption. I would like to agree that corruption is the radical cause of the misery of Filipinos. Therefore, it is but only proper to reject what is base and dishonorable! Let us then intensify and sustain this righteous effort of eradicating graft and corruption," he said.

On the other hand, Odchimar took yet another dig at efforts to promote artificial contraception as a tool against poverty.

In the same New Year message, he said there are other anti-poverty measures that "apparently disagree with the very conscience of many Christian Filipinos."

He noted that aside from those who believe that poverty is a consequence of increase in population, there are international campaigns afoot to reduce birth rates, "sometimes using methods that often fail to respect even the right to life."

Citing Pope Benedict XVI's address on the World Day of Peace, he said the "extermination of millions of unborn children in the name of the fight against poverty actually constitutes the destruction of the poorest of all human beings."

"And yet it remains the case that in 1981, around 40% of the world’s population was below the threshold of absolute poverty, while today that percentage has been reduced by as much as half, and whole peoples have escaped from poverty despite experiencing substantial demographic growth. This implies that we can combat poverty even without depopulation," he said, quoting the Pope.

Odchimar also said God assures social transformation can happen. "Peace and prosperity is within our reach. And the certainty of its realization lies in the fact that we are not alone in this task. God is with us!" he said.

"Hence, at the very outset of this new chapter of human history, we are invited, more than ever, to discern which work is God’s and eventually collaborate with Him. A Blessed New Year to all!" he added.

In his New Year message, meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III said the fight for reform against corruption is by no means over, even as he called on Filipinos to show unity and “bayanihan" in the coming New Year. [See story: Aquino calls for unity, bayanihan in 2011]

“Kung patuloy tayong magkakaisa magiging mas makabuluhan ang mga hakbang na magagawa natin upang sa wakas ay makamtan na natin ang ating mga pangarap. Nawa’y ipagpatuloy ninyo ang inyong pagkalinga sa ating kapwa, ang inyong pagbabayanihan at inyong pakikiisa sa ating pagtahak ng tuwid na landas," he said. — LBG, GMANews.TV

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