FORMER Secretary of Finance Jesus Estanislao challenged Thomasians to practice the ideals of St. Thomas More to eradicate poverty in the country and to promote good governance.

Estanislao highlighted the importance of faith, fairness, transparency, and accountability in governance during the 34th St. Thomas More Lecture at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex last Feb. 7.

According to him, the number of Filipinos living below poverty line continues to increase at a disturbing rate.

He added that corruption in the government contributes to the country’s increasing poverty rate and “takes the wind off our economic sail.”

He challenged the administration to arm itself for the battle against poverty.

“The main weapon we should forge and use in the war against poverty is good governance,” Estanislao said.

He also stressed that Filipinos should be responsible enough to improve society because “the direction of social development has been flawed, with some indicators showing retrogress instead of progress.”

Furthermore, he said that Filipinos have been disunited because of self-centeredness, even if Filipinos had the uncanny ability to unite during emergencies as manifested by People Power I and II.

Estanislao also presented three fundamental elements to catalyze this change in the society. These elements are the rule of law, the establishment of institutions, and the formulation and implementation of correct policies.

“Darkness has also been looming in our land. We need St. Thomas More’s ‘splendor of the light’ to flash through our minds and hearts,” Estanislao said.

Estanislao served as secretary on economic planning and of finance during the Aquino administration. He is also the founder of the University of Asia and the Pacific, formerly the Center of Research and Communication.

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