Poverty not a Problem, says Bishop

Lack_of_faithGet Real Philippines has always seen poverty as one of the biggest problems of the country. That’s why we would usually recoil when someone says poverty is not a problem. Well, at least I did.

Bishop Gilbert Garcera of the archdiocese of Daet made a statement to oppose the recently signed Reproductive Health or RH Law, one that the Catholic church opposed aggressively. What I consider the highlights of his statements are, as taken from the Inquirer article (edit: if he was quoted accurately):

‘The huge Philippine population could be part of “God’s plan for Filipinos to be caregivers to aging nations whose populations had become stagnant.”‘

‘Many Filipino women would make “good wives” for foreigners in countries that have low population growth.’

‘When you help poor people they help themselves too. This is the reason we have so many pedicab drivers, for instance.’

‘He said that the overpopulation that breeds poverty was not a problem because poverty itself was not a problem.’

These are the very things I shot down in my previous article about some Catholic arguments against the then-RH Bill. I am not a fan or supporter of the RH Law, but some opponents have used the wrong arguments against it. While some are alarmed with the bishop saying something like “overpopulation is good,” that itself may not be the problem. His statement on poverty is the most disturbing one. One’s attitude towards some issues is often influenced by how they see connected problems.

What the bishop says of course angers those who say that having more children than you can feed is irresponsible and wrong. It angers those who say that Filipinos should have jobs at home and OFWism has a high social cost (does he know of the OFWs who take other wives or husbands even if they have spouses in the Ph, or OFWs with spouses who philander at home, abuses by employers, the pain of separated family members, the hassle of being an OFW, etc.?). It also angers those who are against giving off your daughters to foreigners (so their descendants will live elsewhere and may cease becoming Filipinos). Many of us also know that there are poor people who do not try to help themselves, but wait instead for dole outs from programs like the Conditional Cash Transfer.

But the most tragic issue is that poverty is not a problem for him.

Perhaps the bishop was trying to use perspective as a way of de-problemizing something. He probably tried to follow the lines of “positive thinking,” wherein, if you try to stop seeing something as a problem, it will cease to become a problem. But the thing is, reality doesn’t always work that way, and de-problemizing something may actually do more harm than help. For example, I doubt one can easily de-problemize their child dying of starvation.

Bishop Garcera
Bishop Garcera

In some way, it looks like the bishop is encouraging something that we bloggers in GRP have long recognized as a problem: denial. Bishop Garcera seems to have attempted to deny a problem and say “nothing’s happening here.” It would seem that the bishop’s statement shows a severe disconnect from reality, and an attitude of trying to come up with any argument, no matter how flawed and failed, to defend one’s stubborn and unchangeable stance.

From my own faith, I would argue that poverty is something God hates. The Bible has continually portrayed poverty as a problem, something that Bishop Garcera seems to miss. That’s why the Bible commands us to help the poor; we must do something to help people out of poverty. Poverty causes people to suffer and it destroys the creation of God that bears his image. Bishop Garcera on the other hand seems to agree with keeping a problem unsolved because it reportedly “brings people closer to God.”

I wonder how many people have the same opinion as this bishop. GRP blogger have said before that a country’s leaders, even religious leaders, reflect the people themselves. Perhaps we need to encourage more people to individually dissent from their “leaders,” since that freedom is after all a God-given right.

EDIT: Some people have warned me that the Inquirer article may have misquoted Garcera. Let me make it clear: whether or not Garcera said it, the issue is that “poverty is not a problem” is wrong for me. Since it’s in the article, someone may agree with it. But I never will.

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About ChinoF

I stick with this blog because I believe, as my cohorts do, that many things Filipino embrace as part of their culture keep their society backward. And blogging freely to show that in a truly decent society, with true freedom of speech, even nobodies have a voice.

Post Author: ChinoF

I stick with this blog because I believe, as my cohorts do, that many things Filipino embrace as part of their culture keep their society backward. And blogging freely to show that in a truly decent society, with true freedom of speech, even nobodies have a voice.

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116 Comments on "Poverty not a Problem, says Bishop"

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Manny Alvarez
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The reason why he, and a lot of others who feel the exact same way, is that they dont CURRENTLY feel FIRSTHAND the effects of.poverty. Period. Its easy to deny poverty when you dress in cool red costumes with big hats, not have to worry about the little things like..
Oh, food? and people kissing your rings.

Libertas
Guest

‘Turn the women into trafficked slaves’, so their pimp husbands/families can drink and gamble on the money sent back home! Mmmm

Apart from the corruption, the philippines ranks alongside india in archaic thinking, barbarism, gender inequality, and the low value placed on human life.

The church is a modern day irrelevance whose only expertise is the abuse of little boys, so hardly surprising that they mouth such stupidity.

they are just worried that their cash rich business will suffer with less paying customers.

TeabagDeluxe
Guest

From the Inquirer article: “He said poverty even brought people “closer” to God and was instrumental in realizing God’s plan for Filipinos to take care of other nationalities by inducing migration and working abroad.”

By this logic, then the Catholic Church is among the farthest away from God because of their massive estates and huge amounts of money. Seventeen billion in stocks, anyone?

Robert Haighton
Guest
@ChinoF, can you please elaborate more on this part of your Blog: “That’s why the Bible commands us to help the poor; we must do something to help people out of poverty.” Are you giving me fish or are you teaching me how to fish? The former/first wont let me get out of my own poverty; the latter may contribute to take care of myself. But what if the pond is empty? I think its better to establish the reasons and causes why so many Filipinos are poor, only then we might have an opening to solve it, little by… Read more »
Jun Viray
Guest
I may not agree with the good bishop too. But I don’t agree either with this author – making a big argument to something which might just be true. Why not discuss the bad effects – like complications of the artificial contraceptives on women; billions of pesos for the implementation of the program which is actually a redundant program…using tax money even from those opposing the bill that will benefit those who do not care for themselves and for the country’s well-being. By and large, I think the Church as a whole has more relevant and well-meaning projects. And the… Read more »
Gabs Narazo
Guest

‘The huge Philippine population could be part of “God’s plan for Filipinos to be caregivers to aging nations whose populations had become stagnant.”‘

‘Many Filipino women would make “good wives” for foreigners in countries that have low population growth.’

‘When you help poor people they help themselves too. This is the reason we have so many pedicab drivers, for instance.’

‘He said that the overpopulation that breeds poverty was not a problem because poverty itself was not a problem.’
——————————————-

as stupid as it gets. can’t believe bishops would say these words.

BlueStreak
Guest

The guy sounds more of a money-grubber in this case than that of a “bishop”.

If this guy spouted out such things after he was taught in the seminary, became a priest and then became a bishop. I have the right to say, the Catholic Church is teaching the wrong doctrines and blatant.

Worse is, that misinterpreting the Scriptures is something I am very appalled against!

ROQUET
Guest

Bishop Gilbert Garcera of the archdiocese of Daet said “poverty itself is not a problem.” Definitely, the church has succeeded in indoctrinating most poor that being in the state of poverty is a virtue. So, they don’t worry, God provides their needs.

That’s why you see poor Filipinos won’t strive hard to get out of their bondage of being poor. They are in fact contented!

Mercury
Guest

And I was like “LOL a holy man sees Filipina as a cum dumpster”? (Pardon the profanity. D: )

I get a feeling that this is how they vent their sexual frustrations with. What ever that bishops says, it is wrong to see that overpopulation is not a problem (in NCR, at least) and any BS he said about Filipino women.

I still wonder what’s he’s smoking, though.

Missing Ace
Guest

Probably wet cigarettes and snacks on marijuana-cocaine-heroin-cocktail thin wafers, like the ones they use on masses.

FREDDY
Guest
The Bishop started his remarks off with;:”Maybe it is God’s plan”,yeah,and Maybe it isn’t,and Maybe pigs fly too.BUT Wow,this guy is not the sharpest tool in the box if he thinks poverty is not a problem in a 3rd world country like the Philippines.Idiocy at its most ignorant and it bothers me to say that about a Catholic Church leader as I am a Catholic.This guy just does not seem to have a grasp on reality,and in a country like the Philippines,is it any wonder? If poverty is not a problem in the Filippines,well then hot-diggity-dam my name is Uncle… Read more »
FREDDY
Guest
OK,I am just going to say it: The ROOT CAUSE of almost all problems in the world is MONEY/DINERO/SCRATCH,got the Sir Bishop? I would also offer up that POVERTY OR lack of MONEY is the single biggest problem in the Philippines which,btw,should not be a poor dilapidated,tuberculosis ridden flop-house of a country.Since 1965,when Marcos started pilfering Biliions of $$$,the country and its people have been cheated out of its potential prosperity by the corruption that grips this country by its short n curlies!!! Dare I say there are some arcane/inane institutions that bolster that corruption and make it possible for… Read more »
C_and_c
Guest

If the Catholic Church wants to help in the issues of poverty and population, they should really go full head-on campaigning with their natural family planning. Anything else to protest by the RCC, especially with regards to the taxpayers who are burdened with subsidizing contraceptives and other provisions through the government : the really inadequate education and healthcare systems.

T4Man
Guest

I can’t take anyone seriously who dresses like that.

ice
Guest

And that only prove to Filipinos that Priest and such are not experiencing first hand what poverty really is. How would they know if there’s always food on the table, clothes are always pressed, maids are everywhere and money is just a slip away.
Btw, I worked in a catholic church before. Didn’t like the way they treat people, especially priest.

Domingo Arong
Guest
ChinoF The PDI article (Dec. 29) you are referring to is actually an interview with Bishop Gilbert A. Garcera of Daet conducted by a certain Jonas Cabiles Soltes who also wrote the piece. I thought all along before I got to read your blog that the quotations you cited were taken from a speech that the Bishop had delivered. Anyway, I counted at most only ten lines in the 520 word PDI article that were enclosed in quotation marks, which, of course, means that the article — “Overpopulation good for Filipinos, says Bishop” – may have been simply the paraphrasing… Read more »
Domingo Arong
Guest
Johnny, frankly, my personal take on this matter which, by the way, prompted me to caution against PUBLICLY employing certain forms of expression concerning a religion is that — what a speaker may honestly regard as an altogether innocent remark may sometimes ignite hatred and provoke violence. Those offended have coined a term for this — “Hate Speech.” In Wiki “Hate speech is, outside the law, communication that vilifies a person or a group on the basis of one or more characteristics. Examples include but are not limited to: color, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, and sexual orientation.” Actually,… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
“Those offended have coined a term for this — “Hate Speech.” In Wiki “Hate speech is, outside the law, communication that vilifies a person or a group on the basis of one or more characteristics. Examples include but are not limited to: color, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, and sexual orientation.” Doms, my rejoinder – “What most people don’t understand that hate speech as defined in the Constitution does not include merely hurtful speech or speech that is insulting or upsetting. Calling someone the K word or calling a woman a bitch is nasty and bad mannered, but it… Read more »
Jack
Guest
Domingo Arong, you said “And we saw this vividly portrayed in the bloody assault on the American Consulate in Egypt only recently brought about by a short video produced thousands of miles away.” You seem to be very confused with your information. There was no bloody assault on the Consulate in Egypt. Demonstrators threw stones and tore-up the American flag. The “bloody assault” was in Libya. The US Consulate in Benghazi was attacked with automatic rifles, mortars and RPG’s which killed Ambassador Stevens and technology specialist Sean Smith. Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at the… Read more »
Domingo Arong
Guest

Jack, yes, I confused the two. Thanks for the welcome correction.

As to whether the attack was “spontaneous” or not, the loudest voices always seem at times to be the more credible.

Here’s wishing you a year filled with new hope too!

MidwayHaven
Guest

Curiously enough, nowhere does it say in the Bible that Jesus wanted people to be materially poor; he often emphasized the richness of the KINGDOM of God.

Unfortunately, that specific bishop skewed Jesus’s message about being “poor in spirit.”

Trosp
Guest
“Unfortunately, that specific bishop skewed Jesus’s message about being “poor in spirit.”” Below are the PDI direct and indirect quotation from that byline about being poor – “”When you help poor people they help themselves too. This is the reason we have so many pedicab drivers, for instance. Everyone, when given the chance, will strive to earn a living,” he said.” ““We should stop looking at poor people as a problem,” he added.” “He said that the overpopulation that breeds poverty was not a problem because poverty itself was not a problem.” “In fact, he said, poor people were more… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Guest
Now, I dont want to be the party pooper but I think I need some back ground information on the word poverty (in the Philippines). Is there a loose or scientific definition of that word or do we have to make it more specific and is it only per house hold circumstances applicable? I can label myself as a poor sod when I am only able to pay all my monthly bills (rent, water, electricity, gaz (for heating the house), daily errands/groceries, clothing, commuting). And not having (enough) money to have a hobby, for leisurely things, for repairs on TV/washing… Read more »
Ici
Guest
I stopped reading when I found out the source was inquirer. It’s practically bs’ personal propaganda machine. My beef with the rh law is that it is not needed, and it just opens up more opportunities for corruption. I have no desire to pay for the safe and satisfying sex of others. The money is better used to develop the countryside so people will not leave to migrate to congested urban areas. So more than any religion, that law, to me, is more irrelevant. The priests are just standing up for what they believe in. There are a lot of… Read more »