The Office of the Dean of the School of Social Sciences and the Institute of Philippine Culture (IPC) jointly organized the book launch of Overcoming Poverty: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives, Principles, and Practices held last April 14, 2016, at the San Alberto Hurtado Hall in the Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University.
Published by C&E Publishing, Inc. for the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Overcoming Poverty was written by a diverse group composed of two economists (Fernando T. Aldaba, Dean, School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University; Ronald U. Mendoza, incoming Dean of the Ateneo School of Government), a medical doctor (Fortunato L. Cristobal, Dean, Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine), a development manager (Mario A.G. Lopez, Associate Professor, Asian Institute of Management), a psychologist (Carmela D. Ortigas, Professor, Graduate School, Department of Psychology, Ateneo de Manila University [AdMU]), and a social anthropologist (Mary Racelis, Research Scientist, Institute of Philippine Culture, and Professorial Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, ADMU). It also features forewords written by Fr. Karel S. San Juan, S.J., President of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, and Hon. Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The book makes a strong case for approaching the persisting problem of multi-dimensional poverty in the Philippines using different lenses. Moreover, it highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration to combat the various facets of poverty.
In his opening remarks, Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” T. Villarin, S.J., President of the Ateneo de Manila University, described his imagery for poverty as a “monster with many hearts.” This book, he noted, could contribute in conquering the different “hearts” of poverty. Fr. Villarin reminded the audience not to forget the faces of poverty—the poor themselves—in trying to confront this “monster with many hearts.”
Hon. Angelita Y. Gregorio-Medel, Undersecretary for the Institutional Development Group of the DSWD, delivered the keynote address during the book launch. She reflected on how the book Overcoming Poverty resonates with her own experiences in the development sector for more than 40 years—from fighting against the Marcos regime, to working in the non-government sector, and now to serving in government. She mentioned the various projects and programs that the DSWD has undertaken to address poverty, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Lastly, she echoed the remarks of Fr. Villarin, saying that we should not forget the faces of the poor when fighting poverty.
At the launch, the book’s six authors briefly tackled their respective book chapters. Dr. Fernando Aldaba wrote a chapter on the political economy of poverty reduction titled “Walang Mahirap Kung Walang Corrupt.” Dr. Fortunato Cristobal showed how medical studies can help in poverty reduction in “Health for More: Health Disparity and Health Education.” Mr. Mario Lopez explored how management can help with rural enterprises in his chapter titled “Poverty Alleviation, Livelihood Creation, and Wealth Sharing: A Development Management Perspective.” Dr. Ronald Mendoza used an economic perspective to analyze social budgeting in “Eyes on the Budget: Innovations in Social Budgeting and Citizen Participation.” Dr. Carmela Ortigas employed a psychological framework to analyze poverty in “Psychology of Philippine Poverty: Impact on Cultures—A Journey.” Lastly, Professor Mary Racelis discussed how the poor themselves view poverty in her chapter “Kahit Dukha’y Dakila!: Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Poverty and Well-being.”
In his closing remarks, Fr. Karel San Juan highlighted how the book addresses the following: the need for rigor and critical thinking; the need to integrate experience, empathy, and intelligence; and the need for synthesis and synergy. Reiterating the call of Pope Francis to overcome poverty, Fr. San Juan describes this as “a spiritual imperative of mercy, compassion, and global solidarity.” Finally, he presented copies of the book to Undersecretary Gregorio-Medel, officials and administrators of the Ateneo de Manila University, and the book authors.
Copies of Overcoming Poverty are now available at all C&E Bookshop branches nationwide, at Php 350 per copy.