POVERTY manifests itself in various ways, nagging the conscience of Church and State, which must somehow share the responsibility of the poor’s continued existence in our midst.

Thus, it should not be a surprise if every citizen becomes wide-eyed witness to the population control dilemma.

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After all, the dilemma is over our rising population, which is one of the basic causes of pervasive poverty and which has become central to the reproductive health controversy.

Reproductive health

The Church is gravely opposed to the reproductive health bill, labeling it as blatantly permissive of birth control in all forms.

The Church abhors artificial methods, such as the use of drugs, abortion and condoms. Yet these are methods the State recognizes and favors as means of truly controlling population growth.

The State’s health planners believe that with population increase left uncontrolled, the pressure of feeding the nation’s inhabitants would lead to an undue rise in the poverty level.

As it is, a 2006 report by the National Statistical Coordination Board stated we already have 27.6 million “poor and underprivileged” people in the country.

Magna Carta

Meanwhile, the need to control and alleviate poverty among our masses has also led to a proposal in the Cebu City Council for the passage of a “Magna Carta for the Poor.”

Cebu City North Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar has filed such a measure in the 15th Congress, which begins its session in two weeks.

The passage of the measure in the City Council, according to Councilor Alvin Dizon, will strengthen the city’s social services. Dizon is author of the resolution expressing support for the Magna Carta.

The measure aims to boost job generation programs of the City Government, promote good health for the citizenry, and with the help of the private sector, provide affordable and decent housing for all.

It also aims to “break ‘transgenerational’ poverty through education” with the assistance of the private sector.

He said that recognizing the rights of the poor should not be reduced to mere tokenism.

The poor’s right to survival should be the core of our poverty alleviation program.