PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THOUGH leaders of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines have lost hope with the level of present governance, a bishop is still optimistic that sustainable development can help address poverty especially in rural areas.
Cotabato Archbishop and BEC chair Orlando Quevedo, expressed his optimism when he spoke at a nationwide congress of basic ecclesial communities.
Quevedo said participation, collaboration and mutual decision making, qualities that characterized BEC leadership, should make it a reality.
“It can help because leadership at BEC from the grassroots is again very different from the kind of leadership in politics. There’s a lot of consensus and decision making done by them. That is true with governance, that is also true with the social action projects, at that is also true with barangay chapel council. Again participation, collaboration and lot of decisions made based on themselves,” he said.
The bishop said rural or grassroots development is the kind of development people need in the countryside.
The BEC paradigm of sustainable development he said, “is integral, centered on the human person, has a transcendent dimension, a countersign and a response to globalization.”
“It is not merely economic development,” he added.
Quevedo explained that in a ‘people-centered’ development, the common good is the responsibility of everyone.
“If the road needs to be repaired, don’t wait for the government to do it for you.
Get all the BEC leaders together and repair the road,” he said.
Quevedo said that sustainable development starts from the bottom as opposed from the present model of development that comes from top.
“The people have to use their own initiatives and whatever resources they can use in their own communities and develop themselves locally. So more or less it is a gospel countersign to the model of development in the world. They don’t really depend very much on outside help, so it’s called sustainable development,” he said.
The Cotabato archbishop believed rural development could address the poverty crisis at the local level, noting that people in the provinces can survive even with little.
“Big businesses cannot survive, but little people in the grassroots can survive with the kind of development that they can sustain from their own local areas.