Bishops give Aquino administration a grade of 3/10

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has given President Benigno Aquino III a grade of 3 out of 10 for supposdely failing to make the rest of the country feel the economic growth that the government has been taking pride in.

“Asset reform means the assets are with the people: land reform for the poor, no contractualization in companies. The gap between the poor and the rich is widening,” CBCP-NAtional Secretariat for Social Action chairman Bishop Broderick Pabillio said in a Radio DZMM report.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, meanwhile challenged the President to explain during his State of the Nation Address what the 7.8-percent growth in the economy in the first quarter of 2013 means.

“Now, the people are hungry for the truth. What is really the truth? Up to what extent is the so-called development?,” he said.

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, a member of the Nacionalista Party that is part of the administration coalition, said in an e-mailed statement that now is not the time for criticism.

“We all want the poor to feel the effects of economic growth. Personally, I want lower prices, more jobs and higher income for all Filipino families especially the poor, but we should understand that the effects of economic progress takes time.  In China and our other Asian neighbors, it took more than a decade for the poor to feel the effects of economic progress. We should be more patient and constructive.” he said.

He said the government created 1.156 million jobs in 2011, above its target of 1 million. The Conditional Cash Transfer program, which gives poor families incentives for sending their children to school and to regular medical checkups has also increased its coverage to 3.8 million from 800,000 during the Arroyo administration, Cayetano said.

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