Bishop admits Church failing to protect workers

Bishop admits Church failing to protect workers

Jeepney drivers protest plans to phase out old public utility jeepneys, at Mendiola in Manila, July 17, 2017. ROY LAGARDE

MANILA — A Catholic bishop admitted the Church is not doing enough to protect the welfare and the rights of workers.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, who heads the Church-Workers Solidarity, said the Church, which plays a major role in the welfare of the most vulnerable workers, is lagging behind in its commitment

“The problem really is that the church people are a little bit allergic to get involved to concerns of the workers… There seems to be a bit of distancing,” he said over Church-run Radio Veritas.

The duty to protect the dignity of workers is rooted in the Gospel, but it’s “ironic”, he said, how the Church is failing them.

The prelate said it’s about time the Church re-examines the level of its leadership as everyone should feel concerned about the well-being of workers.

“In terms of the Church’s social teachings, it’s very clear and that’s precisely the irony, the paradox that the Church’s presence among the workers is not really felt,” said Alminaza.

Economic issues like the salary hike, controlling inflation, and creating jobs remain the top concerns of Filipinos, according to a March 2017 survey by Pulse Asia.

And if a family of six wants to get out and stay out of poverty, the think tank IBON Foundation estimates it needs at least Php 1,119 per day.

However, it said that the daily minimum wage, which remains at Php 491 in the National Capital Region, the highest in the country, is not even half of the required family living wage.

Alminaza added that it remains a “big challenge” for the Church to really be in solidarity with the country’s poor and marginalized workers.

“We are calling on the church people to be more open and to be more in solidarity with them,” he said. CBCPNews