The Philippines’ National Anti-Poverty Commission is launching a book that reflects the aspirations of Black Nazarene devotees. Liza Maza, head of the anti-poverty body, said the government has to "join the poor in both prayer and action" during the annual feast that honors the suffering Christ. The Feast of the Black Nazarene
every Jan. 9 is one of the largest religious events in the country and is attended by millions of people. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the devotion continues to attract people because of the poor economic situation of most Filipinos. "People cling to the Black Nazarene because they have no one else to rely on, not even the government that has the obligation to take care of them," the prelate told ucanews.com. "For them, government’s attention is a miracle," he said. Maza said the book, to be launched on Jan. 11, "positions poverty eradication as the centerpiece" of the government's economic, social, and environmental policies. "Every year we see millions of Filipinos in the procession of the Black Nazarene. This year, we join them with a book devoted to the poor," Maza told ucanews.com. The book proposes a "comprehensive and integrated approach" in eradicating poverty that requires coordination between among all stakeholders. "Eradicating poverty must be a national effort, guided by a rights-based and social development approach," said Maza. She said at least one out of every five Filipinos lives in extreme poverty while another 60 percent of Filipino households "needs to be raised to more decent levels." "The best way to join the people in their prayers is to make sure our resources are efficiently mobilized toward those who need them most."