Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The long-standing problem of poverty in the country must now be urgently addressed says an appeal by the Philippine Caritas to the newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, urging to face the problems "head on", according to Director of Caritas Philippines, Msgr. Jose Colin Bagaforo. One of the urgent challenges is "poverty, especially in rural areas". The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the poverty rate in the Philippines rose to 23.7 percent in the first half of 2021, representing 26.1 million destitute residents. In 2018, the poverty rate was 21.1 percent (22.2 million citizens). In four years, the number of citizens living in poverty has increased by 3.9 million out of a population of 110 million, 10 million of whom earn their living as migrant workers in their own country or as migrant workers abroad. "The increase in the prices of basic necessities and the rise in oil prices will be another challenge for the government", says the bishop, urging the government to address "the plight of farmers given the many imported agricultural products", including rice, a staple food for the population to take into account.
Caritas affirmed that it will continue to work for "principled cooperation" with the government and that the Church "will work with the government on initiatives that guarantee respect for the rights and dignity of the Filipino people". New President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. began his six-year term on June 30 after winning the May 9 election with over 31 million votes. (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/7/2022)