Economic growth

OF late it was bannered in national dailies that the country is enjoying at last a stunning economic growth of 7.8%. Presumably, people were either glowing in delight and appreciation or wondering and jeering with disbelief if not disgust. For sure, such newspaper items while good news for some yet a bad joke for others, rightfully deserves even but an elementary non-technical explanation from non-economic experts or professionals for the understanding of the common people.

It can be said that such a tremendous growth, if true, still is and remains somewhere else.  It is not far cry to say that most of the financial cache belongs to both foreign and local capitalists plus some moneyed families in the country, investing their money in whatever local business ventures that promise profitable returns. As their investments make money, either they withdraw their gains for funding other business ventures or simply roll their money—capital plus earnings—in order to have more.

Observably, the said economic “stunning” growth is up there at the command of already wealthy corporations and much moneyed clans. But down the economic ladder, the poor remain poor just as the miserable remain pitiful and helpless. It might be good to note that instead of the usual three “classes” in the socio-economic pyramid, there are now four of them: the “high class,” the middle class,”—which seems to be diminishing—the “low class,” and the “miserable class.”

Administration spinners aside, those who hugged the headlines that “Economy grows a stunning 7.8%,” may wish to respond to these queries: Why is it that those wanting to be OFWs are not becoming small in number? Why is it that more people continue to live under bridges, still having their houses built at both sides of dirty canals full of garbage and filth? Why is it that women continue to sell their bodies while children continue to beg at the streets? And why it is that there are still individuals who sell their organs for the transplant needs of the wealthy?

With such readily known and noted socio-economic liabilities, time and again, the Philippines is crying for a competent, ethical, and decisive leadership. The Filipinos hope and pray for able, moral, and firm leaders elections after elections. All political candidates proclaim and even promise to be the saviors of the People of the Philippines, but so far, the people and their country,  sad to say, are not really moving forward in their down-to-earth economy and pursuant social welfare even but in Asia. In fact, it is now being bullied by its Asian neighbors.

“Hope springs eternal!” This is a known maxim that Filipinos should hold on to now and the years yet to come. Because despair is fatal!

Catholic educational institutions

CATHOLIC educational institutions have been making a distinct contribution to the total well-being of our country. It is impossible to think if the Philippine becoming what it is today without their contribution. Catholic schools, colleges and universities are among the best educational institutions in the land.  Besides their religious task, they make a distinct and important secular contribution.

Catholic educational institutions are among the most necessary and potent means of evangelization. We may ask: What are the resources available to Catholic schools which enable them to make a distinct contribution as promoters of evangelization?

Distinct from non-sectarian schools, Catholic schools share with other Christian educational institutions an integrated view of the human person grounded in the person of Jesus Christ.

Distinct from other Christian schools, the Catholic school is equipped with an understanding of the dynamics of the Christian person as he/she participates in the living tradition of the Catholic Church. It is imperative from the Catholic perspective to view Christian life as intimately woven in the life of the community in a variety of levels:  domestic church, BEC, parish, diocese, local, universal.  The Church journeys as pilgrim through history, where she discerns the unfolding of history as the progressive communal experience of salvation.

Distinct from the other workers of evangelization, Catholic educational institutions can offer a systematic understanding of the link between faith and life. The classroom provides an opportunity to understand the person through the prism of the various academic fields, with faith as the integrating factor. The school further provides the venue for a systematic reflection of one’s experience of being evangelized by others, such as the family and parish.

We must sadly admit, however, that many of the graduates of our schools, despite these distinct advantages of their schooling, do not seem to have sufficiently assimilated Christian values in such a way as to renew their Christian living, and make them lay apostles in their respective fields of endeavor.  Many seem to look at Catholic education simply as a passport to better opportunities for earning a living, rather than as a grace to live better human and Christian lives, entailing a serious responsibility to build a better world. Many graduates of Catholic schools have been successful economically and politically but they have also contributed to the dismal economic and political imbalance existing in our country.

While evangelization is supposed to be the primary concern of Catholic education, we must again sadly admit that in practice this has not always been so. In the very structure of the school curriculum, religion, which should be the integrating factor, has not been treated as a core course in many schools.  Relegated as simply one of the many courses, the challenge of evangelization has been limited to those teaching this course, while other courses may even promote values contradictory to the Catholic vision.  This situation may lead to a dichotomized perception of faith and life, and the lack of appreciation (by both educators and students) of the significance of faith in life.  .   (PCP-II Acts of the Council Nos. 622-628)

Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991

 

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