As a part of the Holy Week and reflections on the sufferings of Christ who died for our sins, we will publish a two-part series on respect for the human dignity, not human greed.
Greed is one of the 7 Deadly Sins. Like lust and gluttony, it is a sin of excess that desires a person in chase of material possession and wealth such as money, power, status etc. with the intention to keep them for their own interest, far from the state of basic survival and comfort.
St. Thomas Aquinas said that “Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.”
As our economy is growing, business robust and wealth being generated by more, we also observe the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider. Because of this, some people believes that the economic growth of 6.6% only benefits the rich, not the poor. There are still jobless people even though the economy has been steadily growing.
Government spending will be accelerated to several billions more for the next three years. The plans are to build more infrastructure, super highways, airports, seaports, and bridges.
In our present economic and real estate boom, construction frenzy, urban growth and hyper business activity, another type of attitude has grown; that of being greedy, craving for more and the creation of unnecessary needs, sadly, at the expense of others.
The private sector on the other hand is in a frenzy of building more, more, and more. But as I see it, these developments are targeted for the upper class, rich and foreign investors. The motivation for more profit is not morally wrong in itself, but when one keeps profit, excess wealth and money for its own sake, blinded by Greed, and then there is what we call Social disorder. They should also understand that the reason they are growing is because of their human resources. Employees are humans, not machines so they need to treat them properly as what Jesus said in the bible, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
I see no reason why, or the need to be spending billions for example in the reclamation of Manila Bay, when there is a need to first address the need of Urban Renewal. The city of Manila is in an ugly stage. One can say that it has reached a level of urban decay. The slum and poor areas of Baseco has to be first addressed before we even start thinking of reclaiming more land just to satisfy the greedy.
There is a need for housing located in urban centers and also, in suburban and rural areas. But this cannot be done unless we build the necessary infrastructure. Instead of spending the billions to reclaim more land that will be use to supply demand for casinos, hotel resorts and more luxury to feed the needs for the greedy, why not continue the opening of a highway connecting Manila to Aurora Quezon via the Antipolo – Infanta Highway?
Land utilization will be maximized if we just focus our infrastructure development in creating linkages with our urban centers with the rest of sub- urban and rural areas.
I see no reason why we cannot utilize the great resource we have of barren, raw, and under-utilized land facing the Pacific. These poor areas are in need.
These lands are idle, just waiting for its proper and best use. These Pacific lands are in need of development in answer to the cry of the poor not the greedy.
More, more, more is needed to feed the needy not the greedy. So, our Government Policy has to be consistent to what the administration always says poverty alleviation.
However, poverty will in no way be alleviated when Fiscal Policy for example is to put more tax burdens to the middle working class with unreasonable taxes. Taxing the monthly dues of condominium dwellers is punishing more the middle class. While, the super rich of our top billionaires have ways around to be tax-free buy having their operations overseas far away from the BIR’s radars.
More, more, and more taxes are hurting the needy, not the greedy. To focus too much attention on Sin Taxes, tobacco and alcohol, is on other example of hitting the poor. Some of the poor need to smoke to fight hunger some drink to forget problems. But the rich can eat all they what to satisfy their hunger for more and pop expensive pills to feel well. No need to smoke or drink but they do have their luxury to enjoy a tax free lifestyle.
Education, they say is one of the answers to help a person alleviate his family from poverty. But the recent news of a University of the Philippines student committing suicide due to tuition fee problems has awaken the education problems that the poor students can no longer afford education. Education is now becoming a business, not a place for teaching. And the worst part is that UP is a state university and thus, it’s the government’s role to provide education to the poor. Rich students are also studying at UP. And news broke out that the Commission on Higher Education announced that some colleges and universities have applied for tuition hike. This is already a burden to a middle class and poor families.
These happenings clearly show the greediness of human beings and relying on the material things of the world as if it is their own, not for others. This is a contrast to the teaching of Jesus Christ in the bible that all things came from God and gave them to His people. Remember that Christ taught us that material things such as money is a root cause of all evil. Material things and money are an idol, and greedy people who are after money and other material things for their own interest are like worshiping an idol.
The Vatican Council taught us that “Every man has the right to possess a sufficient amount of earth’s goods for himself and his family. This has been the opinion of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, who taught that men are bound to come to the aid of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods. When a person is in extreme necessity he has the right to supply himself with what he needs out of the riches of others.”
All people should be treated as equal. All the things in this world are for all people, not for own interest. Every people in this world have a right to acquire the gifts that God has given to us.
In the next part, we will share with you the teachings of the Church about respect for human dignity. It is based on the books: THE APOSTOLATE’S FAMILY CATECHISM and COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH.
A blessed Palm Sunday to all!