MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — As world leaders started arriving in Manila Nov. 17 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit, church leaders voiced concern that the poor might be forgotten once again in the high-level meeting.
“All economies should benefit as many people as possible because growth, to be growth, cannot be exclusive,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the Philippine bishops’ conference. His remarks were reported by ucanews.com.
Growth “should always include especially those experiencing hardships, those who are forgotten,” he said in a statement ahead of the leaders’ summit, which begins Nov. 18. He added that the poor will always be the “priority of the church.”
Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato challenged APEC leaders to effectively address hunger and poverty during the meeting. The prelate criticized the “trickle-down theory” of economics, saying that the poor should be a focal point of economic development.
“We should not be avidly following a trickle-down economy system but something that is bottom-up … so that the poor people can feel and enjoy the benefits of economic development,” the prelate said.
Speaking before world business leaders at the APEC CEO meeting Nov. 16, Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed that the poor will be part of the agenda of the summit, ucanews.com reported.
“We will have important conversations about how we can free our people from the oppression of poverty and how to empower them to take part in sustainable economic growth,” the president said.
Aquino agreed with the bishops that “trickle-down economics was not the way forward.”
“The only real growth is that which is felt by the many. Thus, inclusive growth became the north star of our national policy — growth that truly helps each and every Filipino lift themselves up from poverty and play a meaningful role in continuing our country’s growth story,” Aquino said.
“Indeed, our entire growth strategy hinges on the idea of empowerment,” the Philippine president said, adding that “empowered citizens … are empowered consumers, whose income will go to the goods and services produced by companies.”
“The end result: Instead of having many big fish in a very small pond, we are moving our economic ecosystem into a bigger pond, where everybody can grow and reach their full potential,” said Aquino.
Archbishop Villegas said the ongoing global meeting should not focus only on helping the poor, but rather, on empowering them.
“We are so used to looking at the poor as recipients of help. I think we should change the mindset when we look at the poor as people with voices,” he said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103