Jan 212015
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday urged elected officials and the Filipino people to heed the call of recent Philippine visitor Pope Francis to live simply, with integrity and honesty, and be champions of the poor.

“By the example of Pope Francis himself, the champion of the poor, [may our legislators] pass more laws that will benefit the common good and uplift the poor and underprivileged,” Pimentel said in his Senate Resolution 1110.

The senator said the call of the Pope is ever more relevant as the Philippines faces the challenges of achieving inclusive growth, which despite the efforts of the government, still excludes a significant percentage of the population who continue to live in poverty.

Pimentel said the poverty incidence in the country, based on the 2014 report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, has stayed at around 25 percent since 2003.

“In a population of 100 million people, that would translate into some 25 million poor Filipinos who are marginalized, robbed of their dignity, and stripped of their basic human rights,” he said.

He said the Pope himself chose to live simply as seen in the emblems of his office that he wears and the humble car he rode when he paid a  courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino III last January 16.

“Pope Francis also challenged everyone, at all levels of society to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor,” he said.

“True to form, Pope Francis even requested the organizers of his Philippine trip to remove posters depicting his face along the roads of typhoon-ravaged Leyte, and to replace the posters with portraits of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to emphasize that the focus of the event should be Our Lord Jesus Christ, and not the Pope,” he added.

Pimentel said to respond positively to the papal challenge of living simply, it behooves the political leaders to show the way by their living with honesty, integrity, and commitment to the common good so that the nation’s resources are channeled properly to benefit the people, especially the poor, in a culture where the human rights and dignity of everyone are cherished and respected, and justice is done to them whatever their station in life may be. Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News

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