According to an ABS-CBN News online article written by Jose Galang on April 19, 2018, “The World Bank notes that poverty reduction in the Philippines is proceeding at a slow rate compared to its neighbors in the region. This is because of ‘less pro-poor’ economic growth, high inequality of income and wealth, high frequency of natural disasters, and conflict in parts of the country.” To make matters worse, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the loss of jobs of many people.
Amid this gloomy scenario, we cling to the belief that God is alive and wants us to experience fullness of life. It is worth emphasizing then how His love and provision are evident at present.
On May 17, 2020, another ABS-CBN News article was posted with the headline, “This religious congregation has already distributed P13.9M worth of Covid-19 aid.” Written by Johanna L. Añes-de la Cruz, it pertained to the Congregation of the Mission (CM) which organized the Covid-19 Vincentian Response and Assistance to the Poor Program. Many other groups reached out to the impoverished during this crisis. The Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii founded by Sr. Eppie Brasil, OP harvested from their organic farm and distributed many baskets of vegetables to their neighboring poor communities.
Apart from immediate support through feeding, many individuals and institutions contributed to poverty alleviation through livelihood opportunities. An active youth leader prepared Kimchi tubs for sale using vegetables from Benguet farmers to help them sell their produce. Thames International Business School, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, organized free webinars to teach netizens how to start online businesses.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous projects had been going on. My co-host on Salitang Buhay DZMM Teleradyo, Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD is the founder of the Arnold Janssen Catholic Mission Foundation. His group’s aim is to make the Alternative Learning System available to the poor and the out-of-school youth so that they could be empowered and become self-sufficient.
The late Joey Velasco established the Joey Velasco Foundation which sent to school the street children that he painted about in Hapag ng Pag-asa and which extended housing to their families.
These are just a few of the examples of God-inspired persons who are doing their share in lifting people out of the state of poverty. If more persons would be engaged in programs such as these, we could make concrete steps towards fighting poverty.